Areva ready to give Chinese access to uranium mine: Elysee

5th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

French nuclear giant Areva is ready to open up to a Chinese partner the Imouraren uranium mine in northwestern Niger, which it partially owns, the French president's office said Thursday.

During the first day of a state visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao, China and France "decided to develop (their nuclear partnership) over the whole spectrum: upstream, that is to say the mine, and downstream, reprocessing," the president's office said.

Areva is also "ready to open to a Chinese partner one of the mines in which it is the majority shareholder" in Niger, said an official, specifying the facility in question is the Imouraren mine.

Earlier Thursday, the company signed a contract to supply 3.5 billion dollars' worth of uranium to Chinese power firm CNGPC, Areva chief Anne Lauvergeon told reporters.

She added that Areva had also signed a contract to build a uranium treatment plant in China, but did not cite the amount.

The president's office said the two countries were aiming to build a MOX facility in which surplus weapons grade nuclear material is reprocessed into fuel for nuclear power reactors, thereby lowering the amount of nuclear waste and lowering proliferation risks.

© 2010 AFP

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