France, China extend nuclear cooperation

30 January 2015

During a visit to China by French prime minister Manuel Valls, French and Chinese nuclear energy companies signed agreements to expand their respective cooperation.

EDF-CGN Jan 2015 460 (CGN)
Valls met with Chinese premier Li Keqiang in Beijing yesterday. During their meeting, bilateral cooperation agreements were signed between French utility EDF and China General Nuclear (CGN), as well as between Areva and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) (Image: CGN)

EDF and CGN signed an agreement to share their experience of plant operation and engineering support for existing nuclear power plants. EDF said the aim of the agreement is "preserving the highest safety levels and maintaining consistency between French and Chinese procedures and standards."

The two companies signed a global partnership agreement in November 2007 for joint investment in domestic and foreign power plants and to support the expansion of technical cooperation and joint development of nuclear technology. That agreement saw Areva agreeing to build two EPR units at Taishan, China and to undertake a feasibility study for a used nuclear fuel reprocessing plant.

Meanwhile, Areva and CNNC signed a memorandum of understanding on establishing a joint venture to supply nuclear transport and logistics services. Under the terms of the agreement, Areva will provide its expertise, experience and skills "for the deployment of a used fuel transportation and logistics system in China."

Areva said the ultimate aim for both parties is "the creation of a joint venture set to become CNNC's supplier for used fuel transport operations by road, train and sea modes."

The latest agreement follows the signing in March 2014 of a strategic partnership between Areva and CNNC related to "the identification of all the opportunities in all civil nuclear fields, in the fuel cycle as well as reactors and services."

EDF said its chairman and CEO, Jean-Bernard Lévy, was scheduled to meet with officials from CGN and CNNC to discuss "potential involvement in the development of new nuclear power plant projects in China." This, it said, "will pave the way for cooperation between EDF, Areva and their Chinese partners in the development of step-by-step evolutions of medium-size reactors."

Lévy said, "These agreements with our long-term Chinese partners will deepen our existing cooperation and lay the foundations for new joint projects."

Last March, 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.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News