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China and France aim to strengthen nuclear energy cooperation

09 May 2024

China and France have signed a Letter of Intent on deepening and expanding cooperation on nuclear energy – it came as President Emmanuel Macron hosted a state visit to France by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

(Image: China Xinhua News/X)

Acording to the Chinese Foreign Ministry report on the talks, President Xi said the two countries should step up cooperation in a number of areas, including “nuclear energy, innovation and finance”, with President Macron responding that France was “ready to step up cooperation with China” in areas including “nuclear energy for civilian use”.

During the visit there were a number of business cooperation agreements outlined, with the Letter of Intent on Deepening Related Cooperation in the Nuclear Energy Field signed by Yang Changli, Chairman of China General Nuclear (CGN), and EDF Chairman and CEO Luc Raymond.

According to CGN the letter of intent means “the two parties will further expand and strengthen cooperation in aspects such as nuclear power engineering construction, talent training, EPR operations and leadership training in the field of nuclear power operations to achieve common development”.

CGN and EDF have worked together over many years, dating back to the Daya Bay nuclear power plant’s construction, which began in the 1980s, and CGN said that deepening and expanding cooperation areas “is of great significance to the development of civil nuclear energy in both countries and the business development of the two groups”.

China and France are two of the world’s biggest generators of nuclear energy, with both having large-scale plans to expand capacity in the coming years. According to World Nuclear Association figures, both countries currently have 56 operable reactors. China’s have a capacity of 54 GW and it has 27 more reactors under construction which would provide 28.9 GW more capacity. France currently has 61 GW nuclear energy capacity, with one more 1.6 GW reactor under construction. 

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