The European Commission has been authorised to negotiate a cooperation agreement with China on developing peaceful uses of nuclear energy. With the decision following Beijing’s move to become involved in the international fusion energy project ITER, one of the areas of joint effort between the European Union (EU) and China will be controlled thermonuclear fusion.

Other subjects approved by the EU Council of Ministers for inclusion in a resulting deal with China were: • Decommissioning, decontamination and dismantling of nuclear installations.

• The management of radioactive waste.

• Radiation protection.

• Spin-off civilian nuclear technologies and safety.

Any official deal would be struck with the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), and would also involve cooperation between the Chinese scientists and the EU’s Joint Research Centre.