French engineering group Areva is hoping that a new business structure will help it to strengthen its position in both the nuclear and renewable energy markets.

The state-owned group, which recently lost out to a South Korean consortium in a major tender to build nuclear power plants in the United Arab Emirates, is creating six business groups centred around its nuclear and renewable energy activities, and says that a simpler operating structure will increase its commercial effectiveness.

The business groups will be known as Mining, Front End, Reactors & Services, Back End, Renewable Energies and T&D. The structure will align the company more closely with its strategy, Areva said in a statement.

The company wants to capitalise on the growing demand for new nuclear reactors around the world and is selling its T&D group to an Alstom-Schneider consortium to help raise funds for its plans. It recently welcomed US President Barack Obama’s endorsement of nuclear energy.

In the USA, Areva’s EPR reactor design is currently undergoing design certification by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The EPR has been chosen by four US utilities for a total of six potential reactor construction projects in the country.

At the end of 2009 the UAE awarded a South Korean consortium a contract to build four new nuclear power plants. A French consortium that included Areva and utility EDF had also bid for the project and its failure to secure the contract has led to a public falling out between the heads of the two companies.

Areva is now reported to be in talks with EDF rival GDF Suez over an industrial partnership to develop and market the Atmea reactor, a smaller version of the EPR.