FRANCE 2030: NAAREA among the winners of the French Tech 2030 programme
NAAREA, a leading French pioneer in fourth-generation nuclear power and a winner of the “Innovative Nuclear Reactors” call for proposals under the France 2030 investment plan, has been awarded the “French Tech 2030” label as part of the support programme led by the French Tech Mission, the French General Secretariat for Investment and Bpifrance.
For Jean-Luc Alexandre, Founder and CEO of NAAREA, “this distinction bestowed by French President Emmanuel Macron on the project we’re undertaking at NAAREA reflects the government’s approval of the technology and strategy that we’re developing. NAAREA’s project to develop innovative, sustainable nuclear power contributes to the energy and industrial sovereignty of France and Europe, alongside other sources in the energy mix. We are very proud to join the French Tech family!” stated Jean-Luc Alexandre, Founder and CEO of NAAREA.
French Tech 2030: the benefits for NAAREA
The 125 emerging companies selected, including NAAREA, will receive support from the French Tech Mission for a minimum period of one year, which may be renewed. This support includes:
- Increased visibility in France and internationally through the French Tech network (media, events in France and abroad, access to and promotion through the network of 16 French Tech Capitals and 99 French Tech Communities) and inclusion in France’s economic diplomacy actions
- Financial support, with the support of a dedicated Bpifrance team to facilitate access to public funding under the France 2030 plan; opportunities to connect with private funders (such as investment funds, banks and Euronext)
- Business development support, with opportunities to meet with public and private buyers (major groups, mid-market companies, etc.)
- Tailored support concerning issues of value enhancement, influence and economic sovereignty: introducing and implementing ambitious strategies for intellectual property and business intelligence, participating in advances in voluntary standardization, implementing an effective cybersecurity policy, etc.
- Assistance with regulatory issues, for example with the French Agency for Healthcare Innovation (AIS) for this sector
- Specific support for industrial issues including assistance in identifying industrial real estate, follow-up on the specifics of obtaining administrative and regulatory authorizations, and assistance to improve access to the necessary talent for developing an industrial activity
- • Customized support from the “French Tech Correspondents” network: this network brings together 60 public services and government bodies that partner with the French Tech Mision to contribute to the success of the start-ups it supports, in particular those of the French Tech Next40/120 programme (Business France, INPI, Banque de France, URSSAF, AFNOR, DGFiP, etc.)
NAAREA (Nuclear Abundant Affordable Resourceful Energy for All) was founded in 2020 by Jean-Luc Alexandre and Ivan Gavriloff to help meet the objectives of energy sovereignty, decarbonization and improving the energy mix. NAAREA is developing a groundbreaking energy solution: the XAMR® (eXtrasmall Advanced Modular Reactor), a molten salt fast neutron microreactor capable of producing electricity and heat from spent fuel containing long-lived radioactive waste. With a capacity of a few dozen MW, the XAMR® is designed to be industrially mass-produced and installed in close proximity to consumers, namely in the mobility sector, electro-intensive industries and remote areas. NAAREA benefits from the support of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), as well as industry players such as Assystem, Dassault Systèmes, Orano and Framatome. A carbon-free and non-intermittent energy source planned to be on the market by 2030, the NAAREA XAMR® is opening the way for greater sovereignty, increased resilience and a local, circular economy.
To meet these goals, NAAREA has set in place an ambitious timetable marked by three main phases:
- Mid-2023: finalization of the first digital twin
- 2027: commissioning of a prototype
- By 2030: construction of a manufacturing facility and launch of series production
The ambitions of the French Tech 2030 programme
The French Tech 2030 programme was born of the realization that the development of innovative technologies is an essential condition for identifying and implementing radically new solutions to meet the major challenges our society faces. The countries that will succeed in helping develop and deploy this new generation of companies will benefit from greater technological sovereignty as well as the resulting economic, social, environmental and job-creation impacts. The France 2030 plan, launched in October 2021, provides initial support for these innovations. In a context of particularly strong international competition, the French Tech 2030 programme was launched to offer increased support to around a hundred highly innovative companies developing disruptive technologies that contribute to the objectives of the France 2030 plan. The programme will provide the selected companies with customized financial support and non-financial assistance through the French Tech Mission.
To ensure the coherency between the French Tech 2030 programme and France 2030, the French Tech Mission will work in close collaboration with various government services and agencies: the General Secretariat for Investment; the Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty, to which it is attached (Directorate-General for Entreprise); the Ministry for Higher Education and Research (Directorate-General for Research and Innovation); the Ministry for the Armed Forces (Defence Innovation Agency); the Ministry for the Ecological Transition (Transport Innovation Agency and General Commission for Sustainable Development); the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty (Directorate-General for the Economic and Environmental Performance of Enterprises); Bpifrance; the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME); Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations; and the French National Research Agency (ANR).
French Tech 2030: selection based on economic and technological potential
To select the programme’s winners and form this group of future champions, a call was put out for candidates to submit applications. 842 applications were reviewed by a selection committee chaired by Bruno Bonnell, Secretary General for Investment in charge of France 2030, and comprising representatives of the Directorate-General for Entreprise, the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, the Defence Innovation Agency and the General Commission for Sustainable Development. The coordinators of France 2030 were closely involved in this process. The applications were examined with a view to supporting companies capable of accelerating their development, with a particularly high technological level and economic potential. Applicants had to meet two decisive criteria:
- Companies had to have achieved a level of economic and technological maturity enabling them to accelerate the deployment of their project and make full use of the support services offered. The level of economic and technological maturity required was relatively advanced (TRL 5 or above, except when technological challenges justify support at an earlier stage (such as in the nuclear sector and certain healthcare fields).
- A high minimum threshold for economic eligibility was set at €5 million, taking all financing methods into account (fundraising, private sector debt and revenue combined); a company could be publicly listed but with an IPO of less than €150 million.
In addition to these technological and economic criteria, the selection process for the French Tech 2030 programme aimed for at least 50% of winners to be companies working to reduce the impact of carbon emissions and advance the ecological transition, and 25% to be founded or led by women.
Announced in June 2023, the inaugural cohort of the French Tech 2030 programme included 125 emerging drivers of innovation that are addressing societal and sovereignty-related challenges. Emerging companies, preferentially in deep tech, these winners are positioned in economic and technological sectors identified as priorities for France. Furthermore, their work is relevant to the issues targeted by the ten objectives and six levers of the France 2030 plan, with a particular focus on solutions to strengthen France’s industrial and technological sovereignty.