New Areva and China's National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) have signed an agreement reaffirming their commitment to complete negotiations on a contract for construction of a Chinese commercial used fuel treatment-recycling plant.

The memorandum of agreement was signed in Beijing on 9 January, in the presence of Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron.

New Areva said in a statement that "substantial progress" has been made in negotiations during the past few months, and that the project could be launched later this year.

The reprocessing plant is expected to have a capacity of 800t per year and will be modelled on France's La Hague and Melox facilities.

Chief Executive Officer of New AREVA, Philippe Knoche, said: "I am looking forward to finalising the negotiations soon, and starting the implementation of this landmark project with our partner CNNC in 2018.”