Areva and CNNC eye fuel cycle partnership

22 February 2017

France's Areva and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) have signed a framework agreement for industrial and commercial cooperation in the nuclear fuel cycle.

Areva-CNNC - February 2017 - 460 (CNNC)
Shoujun and Knoche signing the framework agreement (Image: CNNC)

The agreement was signed in Beijing yesterday by CNNC chairman Wang Shoujun and Philippe Knoche, CEO of New Areva, the entity comprising Areva's nuclear fuel cycle activities ahead of the sale of its reactor business to EDF. The signing was witnessed by Chinese premier Li Keqiang and French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve.

CNNC said, "Signing the framework agreement marks a comprehensive collaboration between CNNC and New Areva on the whole industrial chain of the nuclear fuel cycle."

Areva said the document "supports ongoing industrial negotiations" between New Areva and CNNC, in particular on construction of a Chinese used fuel reprocessing facility. It "opens up new industrial and commercial opportunities for both sides".

The capital of New Areva "remains open" for an investment by CNNC. This investment, Areva said, would be within the same framework as agreements being finalized with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited (JNFL). Last month, MHI and JNFL agreed on the main terms of their respective acquisitions of 5% stakes in Areva's nuclear fuel cycle activities for €250 million ($263 million).

The latest agreement with CNNC "is a key step in the deepening of civil nuclear energy cooperation between France and China", Areva said.

In March 2014, a joint statement was issued by French President Francois Hollande and Chinese President Xi Jinping that 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.

A number of nuclear cooperation agreements were signed between China and France in July 2015. Among them was one between Areva and CNNC for cooperation in the nuclear fuel cycle, including the extraction and conversion of uranium, fabrication of zirconium fuel assemblies, decommissioning, transportation and recycling. A memorandum of understanding between Areva and CNNC was also signed, "marking a new step forward in the Chinese project for a used fuel processing and recycling facility".

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News