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China, France ink 8-bln-euro nuclear deal
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China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp (CGNPC) yesterday signed an 8-billion-euro agreement with the French nuclear company Areva for the supply of two nuclear reactors, a record agreement for the French company.

Under the agreement signed during the first official visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy to China, Areva will supply two new generation EPR (European Pressurized Reactor) for the project in Taishan in South China's Guangdong Province.

CGNPC also signed an agreement to buy the 35 percent of the production of UraMin, a uranium mining company under Areva, which has mining facilities in South Africa, Namibia, and the Republic of Central Africa.

Construction of the two reactors, with the capacity of 1700 megawatts (MW) each, could begin during the fall of 2009.

They are expected to begin service in 2014, sources close to the deal told China Daily.

"The deal is the largest international commercial contract ever won by the French nuclear industry," said Anne Lauvergeon, CEO of Areva, adding that a new company would be formed to operate the two reactors.

The two EPRs will be the third and the fourth new generation reactors for Areva in the world.

China will be the third country in the world to use this reactor, according to the company.

Electricite de France (EDF), Europe's largest power generator will own about 30 percent of the newly established company, which will own the two EPRS at Taishan, the company said yesterday.

"We have been partners with CGNPC for 20 years. This agreement is a major step for EDF which, for the first time, will become both investor and operator of nuclear reactors in China," Pierre Gadonneix, chairman and CEO of EDF said yesterday.

Areva also signed an agreement with China's largest nuclear company China National Nuclear Corp for the feasibility studies related to the construction of a spent fuel reprocessing-recycling plant in China.

Both parties also agreed to build a joint venture in the area of zirconium.

The world's fastest growing major economy in July finalized a contract with a consortium, led by the US-based Westinghouse Electric Co, to build four nuclear power reactors in the eastern part of the country.

Neither party revealed the amount involved in the contract but earlier media reports had estimated it to be $8 billion.

Westinghouse, which was bought by Japan's Toshiba for $4.16 billion in last October, outbid its competitor Areva for the four reactors after two years of negotiations.

The 2006 annual report of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission showed that at the end of last year, nuclear power accounted for 1.1 percent in the total installed power capacity.

China plans to increase nuclear power capacity to 40 gigawatts by 2020, accounting for 4 percent of the total generating capacity.

The nation this May set up State Nuclear Power Technology Corp Ltd, which will mainly be in charge of using advanced foreign technology and domestic development.

(China Daily November 27, 2007)

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