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Thursday, October 25, 2012 - 12:00pm

France-Atlanta 2012 Kicks Off

The third edition of France-Atlanta kicks off Thursday. It’s a cultural exchange that includes business workshops, performances and scientific symposia. And the goal is to increase trade between France and Georgia.

Over two weeks, attendees will enjoy a jazz concert, an art exhibit and a dance performance.

But the main goal is making business connections. A nuclear power workshop will bring together French businesses and executives from Georgia Power. The utility is building Plant Vogtle in eastern Georgia, the first nuclear expansion in the U.S. in 30 years.

Clare Collobert is the press attaché at the French Consulate in Atlanta, which organizes the events with Georgia Tech. She says Georgia Power executives also met with French companies at last year's event.

“Plant Vogtle is definitely on the map. And so this year they will meet again and see how French companies can supply or be part of this project,” she said.

France has as many nuclear plants as the United States, despite having a fraction of the land mass and population. Collobert said it derives 80 percent of its energy needs from nuclear power.

There are 100 French companies with operations in Georgia. And while organizers hope more people will attend the events this year -- 3,500 attended last year -- the real number they hope to expand is the number of French companies doing business here.

“The purpose of France-Atlanta is to put people together – entrepreneurs, business people -- so we reinforce the cooperation between France and this region of the United States,” she said.