Areva employs 28,000 people in France but did not say how many jobs it expected to go.
The savings will be made in salaries and bonuses, changes to working practises and employment, the company said.
Unions put the probable number of job cuts at between 2,500 and 4,000, while Le Figaro newspaper, which broke the story, put it at up to 6,000, 3,500 of them in France.
Areva, which has about 42,000 people on its payroll around the world, plans to make 18 per cent savings on labour costs worldwide.
The announcement came as the company, which lost 4.8 billion euros in 2014, prepared to negotiate its savings plan with unions.
It is to present a finance plan for 2015-2017 in July and is considering opening its capital and selling some of its interests to French electricity company EDF.
The China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) on Wednesday said it was interested in partnerships with the French company.
In brighter news for the French economy, the Insee statistical institute said that France was likely to record respectable growth in the first quarter of 2015 with industrial production up 1.4 per cent.
Although industrial production fell 0.3 per cent in March that was after a rise of 0.5 per cent in February, it said.