New Areva (NewCo), the company that brings together Areva’s nuclear fuel cycle activities following the sale of its reactor branch to EDF, has signed an agreement with China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) paving the way for industrial and commercial cooperation, Areva said in a statement on 21 February.

The agreement covers nuclear fuel cycle activities and will support negotiations taking place between New Areva and CNNC about a commercial reprocessing-recycling plant project in China, the statement said. Areva said the deal will open up new industrial and commercial opportunities for both parties and is a key step in the development of civil nuclear cooperation between France and China.

New Areva’s capital “remains open” to an investment from CNNC within the same framework as agreements being finalised with two other investors, Areva said in a Communiqué, on the sidelines of the announcement of the signing of a framework agreement for cooperation between the two groups. Areva has already concluded an agreement with the Japanese MHI and JNFL in early February, in which they pledged to contribute €500m ($527.8m) in exchange for 10% of the capital of New Areva. This was part of the rescue plan approved by the European Commission, which provides that this year Areva will be raising total capital of €5bn including €4.5bn from the French state, its majority shareholder.  However, discussions with CNNC on this issue have so far stalled, on the question of CNNC representation on the board of the new Areva, which is opposed by the government.