Agreements abound at France-China summit

27 March 2014

China and France have celebrated 50 years of diplomatic relations with agreements to continue the two countries' long-term strategic nuclear energy partnership.

Francois Hollande welcomes Xi Jinping to Paris (Image: Presidence de la Republique)

A joint statement issued by French president Francois Hollande and Chinese president Xi Jinping saw the two leaders pledge to encourage "industrial and institutional" stakeholders in both nations to advance cooperation efforts in the entire nuclear fuel cycle, including nuclear power plant safety, used fuel recycling, new build projects and uranium mining.

At a ceremony in Paris, the presidents witnessed the signature of an agreement by China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and Areva on a used fuel treatment and recycling facility project. The agreement follows on from a letter of intent signed in April 2013, which set out technical specifications for a plant to reprocess 800 tonnes of Chinese used reactor fuel per year as part of China's long-term goals to reprocess and recycle its used fuel. Announcing the agreement, Areva said that technical discussions are now being finalised as negotiations prepare to enter the commercial phase.

In an additional agreement, the two companies agreed to create a 51% CNNC, 49% Areva joint venture in the field of digital safety instrumentation and control (I&C) systems. The joint venture will focus on supplying Areva's Teleperm XS I&C platform to the Chinese market. Areva and CNNC also signed two additional cooperation agreements on developing the strategic partnership between both companies by identifying "all opportunities for cooperation in all civil nuclear fields."

The price of Areva shares climbed 3.2% on the news, recovering part of a drop of around 20% in late February that signalled market disappointment in its financial results.

Also alongside the presidential meeting the heads of China General Nuclear (CGN) and EDF signed cooperation agreements on their nuclear new-build efforts at Taishan in China and Hinkley Point in the UK. Both CGN and CNNC have previously signed letters of intent to take an equity interest in EDF's UK new-build project, while EDF and CGN are currently cooperating on the construction of two EPR pressurized water reactor units at Taishan.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News