French nuclear company Areva has formed a joint venture with UK engineering and design consultancy Atkins to compete for projects in the UK nuclear fuel management and decommissioning sector.

Areva senior executive vice-president Dominique Mockly said the alliance would enable the company to meet “the challenges of UK decommissioning and strengthen Areva’s footprint in the country”.

Atkins has a worldwide staff of 17 500, with 9000 based in the UK. Its international nuclear consultancy has been working at Sellafield, Magnox and former UKAEA sites for around 25 years.

Chief executive Martin Grant said: “We have been involved in the UK nuclear clean-up programme since the late 1980s and bring a wealth of experience in the UK nuclear sector. The partnership we have created today will allow us to further develop skills and capabilities to support a long term, sustainable UK nuclear industry.”

The partnership will be headquartered in Warrington in northwest England.