Interview: Nuclear energy cooperation between China, France has huge potential, says EDF China head

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PARIS, May 5 (Xinhua) -- There is huge potential for cooperation between China and France in the field of nuclear energy and other low-carbon energies and EDF will continue to make more high-quality investments in China, said Fabrice Fourcade, chairman of French energy company EDF's China branch.

From Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant to Ling Ao Nuclear Power Plant and Taishan Nuclear Power Plant, 40 years of cooperation between EDF and its Chinese partners has contributed to building mutual trust between the two countries and laid the foundation for mutually beneficial cooperation in the future, Fourcade, also vice president of EDF Group, said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

EDF, France's leading electric utility company, was fully involved in the design, construction, and operation of Daya Bay, the first large-scale commercial nuclear power plant in Chinese mainland from the start of its construction in 1984 to the launch of its commercial operation in 1994.

In recent years, EDF has established partnerships with major Chinese partners including China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) and China National Nuclear Cooperation (CNNC) in various fields such as material aging and digital technology.

Nearly 50 small and medium-sized enterprises in the French nuclear industry have also established extensive cooperative relationships with Chinese nuclear industry enterprises. Some of these enterprises have achieved considerable development in China in recent years, according to Fourcade.

"More and more countries realize that nuclear energy is a useful tool to achieve carbon emission reduction and cope with climate change. In some places, it is even believed to be an indispensable tool," he said.

"Both France and China have ambitions in the field of nuclear energy and should take advantage of the 40-year technical cooperation relationship and industrial proximity to ensure maximum success for these construction plans," he said.

EDF has also diversified its investments in China into other low-carbon energy fields, especially renewable energy. In 2021, EDF and China Energy Investment Corp jointly delivered an offshore wind power project in Dongtai, Jiangsu province. In 2023, the two parties signed an agreement to expand the project to an offshore comprehensive smart energy island demonstration project with wind, solar, hydrogen energy and storage.

EDF has also launched a number of smart integrated energy service projects such as district heating and cooling in China's Shandong, Henan and Hainan provinces. Its innovative platform "EDF Pulse" has launched a series of competitions in China to identify local start-ups in the energy field.

"Renewable energy is continuing to develop at a very rapid pace globally, especially in China," Fourcade said. "EDF is committed to developing low-carbon energy on a global scale, with special attention to cooperation with China."

"We will continue to make more high-quality investments and deliver more outstanding projects in China. We look forward to the first-class business environment with a stable regulatory framework as promoted by the Chinese authorities," he added.

"The presence of EDF in China is marked by two characteristics -- courage to be the first and perseverance. When we dare to be the first, we are not looking for a blockbuster, but for long-term cooperation with mutual trust and win-win results," stressed Fourcade.

As to the "new quality productive forces" promoted by the Chinese authorities, the head of EDF China believes that they are "inseparable from the leading role of innovation that is also strongly promoted in France, including by EDF."

"In the energy field, there is great potential to develop new quality productive forces. Nuclear energy and low-carbon energy together with hydrogen, smart grids and digitalization are key drivers for new business models and for better and higher quality future," he said. Enditem

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