Belgian consortium announces nuclear fuel deal with China

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A Belgian consortium said on Thursday that it had signed an outline agreement to make nuclear fuel in China for civil power generation.

The deal concerns construction of "a pilot installation for MOX fuel fabrication in China and for the use of MOX fuel in Chinese nuclear reactors."

It said that the agreement could lead quite quickly to "a commercial agreement including technology transfer and technical assistance by the Belgian partners.

The Chinese side to the deal is China National Nuclear Cooperation (CNNC.

The Belgian consortium is formed of Belgonuclear (BN), the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre and Tractebel Engineering, a subsidiary of French group GDF Suez.

The fuel referred to is of industrial quality but is not directly suitable for military use. It is made from a mixture of plutonium and un-enriched uranium.

The statement from the consortium said: "China has started a large scale nuclear equipment programme that foresees the construction of 40 to 60 nuclear power plants by 2030."

© 2010 AFP

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