Beijing, Paris strengthen nuclear engineering co-op

Updated: 2011-09-15 07:48

By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)

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ZHUHAI, Guangdong - In a major step to strengthen nuclear engineering cooperation, China launched a nuclear engineering and technology institute with France on Wednesday.

The institute, based in Zhuhai, a coastal city in South China's Guangdong province, is a joint project between the Guangzhou-based Sun Yat-sen University and five higher learning institutes from France, led by the Grenoble Institute of Technology.

"The institute was planned to meet the needs of China's fast-growing nuclear industry and French civil nuclear-related enterprises," said Xu Ningsheng, president of Sun Yat-sen University.

Citing France's leading position in training nuclear engineers, Xu said the institute will help develop more Chinese talents and improve safety in the nuclear sector as China steps up efforts to enhance nuclear engineering development during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015).

"Enhanced nuclear energy development will help China meet its target of reducing carbon emissions by 17 percent in the five years ahead," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said during the institute's launch ceremony.

"The aftershock of the deadly earthquake and tsunami in Japan early this year has not stopped France's determination to further develop nuclear energy in the years ahead. It is our target, with China, to develop more talents and improve safety of the nuclear sector in the future," he said.

Jean-Marie Bourgeois-Demersay, French director of the institute, said the explosion at a nuclear waste processing plant in France on Tuesday would have no impact on nuclear cooperation between France and China.

"It was only an industrial accident. It will not affect the cooperation between us. You know that you will not give up driving even if you had a car accident. Both sides should attach more importance to nuclear safety and continue cooperation," he said.

The co-director said the establishment of the nuclear engineering institute had gained support from the French government and the nation's business community.

"It (the institute) has showed that we are determined to enhance cooperation in the nuclear engineering sector," he said.

Students at the institute will have safety training in their final three years.

The six-year course will lead to a master's degree and the title of engineer.

"We have noticed that France is properly solving and handling related accidents," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said on Wednesday.

"We hope to enhance our cooperation on nuclear electricity and energy with France premised on nuclear security."