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Areva signs deal to strengthen Chinese nuclear links

By Wei Tian | China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-27 09:34

Areva SA, the French nuclear giant, expects to increase cooperation with its Chinese partners both in China and overseas, the company's chief executive and president said on Friday.

In Beijing as part of a business delegation accompanying French President Francois Hollande on his official visit to the country, Luc Oursel said that nuclear cooperation was being carried out "on all levels" and the company planned to explore new agreements, "especially to build more joint ventures in China".

Oursel said Areva is looking to expanding its existing agreements with partners China National Nuclear Corp and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co.

Areva has sales offices and production sites in 12 locations in China, including Beijing, Shanghai and in Jiangsu, Sichuan and Guangdong provinces.

In addition, he said, France and China - which have the two of the world's major nuclear reactor fleets - have a common responsibility in the field of safety.

Oursel's comments came after a letter of intent was signed on Thursday between Areva and CNNC to build a used fuel recycling facility in China, as a part of several key economic agreements signed between the two countries.

The facility, with a planned capacity to treat 800 metric tons of fuel each year, will process used fuel from Chinese power plants in order to recover the reusable materials and recycle them as fuel, explained Oursel.

"In the following month we are going to finalize the contract, and hopefully construction of the plant will start in 2014," he said.

Another area of cooperation is likely to be developing joint international projects, Oursel said.

Areva also reached a tripartite agreement on Thursday with CGNPC and Electricite de France, in fostering deeper industrial and commercial cooperation between the three groups.

Each reaffirmed their intention to complete the construction of the first two reactors in the coastal city of Taishan, in southern Guangdong province, and to start their commercial operation.

"This will also set the stage for an effective development of future reactors.

"In this regard, Areva and CGNPC will shortly analyze the return on experience gained from the construction of Taishan's 1 and 2 units," said Oursel. Within that framework, the groups will consider cooperation in international projects.

The two presidents of Areva and CNNC also confirmed progress on discussions concerning a possible equity stake by CNNC in the Areva subsidiary that holds a 66.65 percent stake in the Imouraren mine in Niger.

weitian@chinadaily.com.cn

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