China-France nuclear power cooperation has strategic significance

China-France nuclear power cooperation has strategic significance On December 28, Paris time, the French government made it clear that it is of strategic importance to develop a "balanced" and "sustainable" nuclear power cooperation relationship with China.

On the same day, French Foreign Ministry spokesperson Fanchan Floriani answered a reporter’s question at a regular press conference and said that the French Nuclear Policy Committee believes that EDF and Areva are the same. An industrial partnership with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group Co., Ltd. (China Guangdong Nuclear Power) should be developed within the above-mentioned framework.

Competition for the interests of French energy companies

This position of the French government has its background.

In November 2012, under the direction of French President Hollande, EDF and Areva signed a three-party agreement with China General Nuclear Power to jointly design and construct a new medium-sized nuclear power plant with a capacity of 1,000 kilowatts. But this is actually a compromise agreement. Behind the dispute is the interest of French energy companies.

According to Xinhua News, since the beginning of this year, the French "New Observer" weekly magazine and "Le Canard Enchaine" (political satire weekly) have accused EDF of "taking the government behind" and France's largest nuclear power company Areva and "arbitrarily" Signed a cooperation agreement with China Guangdong Nuclear Power to develop a new type of nuclear power generation unit and was involved in the transfer of some French nuclear power industrial technology.

According to a report by Reuters on December 25 quoted by the "Duck", a bilateral agreement between EDF and CGNPC to develop and construct a new nuclear reactor was signed as early as November 2011, in which Areva was bypassed. . The agreement is currently under investigation by the French Ministry of Finance. The French side believes that cooperation did not involve Areva and hurt French interests. Available data show that both EDF and Areva are controlled by the French government. The China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation is a central state-owned enterprise in China.

In response to questions from the media, Herve Machenaud, executive vice president of EDF, came out. He said that in November last year, EDF did sign an agreement with China General Nuclear Power. Due to the tight relationship between EDF and Areva, the latter did not participate in the negotiation and signing of the agreement. However, the agreement was frozen by the French government. Later, the relationship between EDF and Areva eased, and Areva was able to participate in the cooperation negotiation with China Guangdong Nuclear Power. The three parties re-signed a new cooperation agreement (namely, the above-mentioned tripartite agreement) a year later.

EDF said that the tripartite agreement has been approved by the French government, not to mention "reporting the government." The supplementary agreement also strictly stipulates the protection of intellectual property rights, and the fear of transferring nuclear power technology is completely "groundless."

The bilateral agreement between EDF and CGNPC was being investigated by the French government. When Liu Kaixin, director of the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Office, was interviewed by the Morning Post reporter on December 26, he did not explicitly deny the matter. He merely stated that “We are also verifying the situation with the EDF. ". Regarding whether the three-party agreement signed in November this year is aimed at domestic or foreign projects in China, Liu Kaixin also declined to comment.

French Finance Minister Dilutes "EDF Partner China Guangdong Nuclear" Investigation

The latest news shows that the high-level defenses of the EDF did not "prevent" the French government's investigation.

According to the Wall Street Journal report on December 29, French Finance Minister Moscovic confirmed on the 28th that the French government is investigating the cooperative relationship between EDF and China Guangdong Nuclear Power. However, he played down the above move and said that the investigation did not specifically target anyone and did not seek to make any allegations of misdemeanor.

Moskvic stated that it is necessary to ensure that the interests of the French and French governments (ie EDF shareholders) are respected. He described this investigation as an analysis of relevant procedures and strategies.

The above actions by the French government meant that the government of the country played a "full-scale leading role" in the export of nuclear power industry. In September this year, the French Nuclear Policy Committee stated that foreign relations of exporting companies should be included within the framework set by the government. Guided by this principle, the Commission decided to sort out and summarize the French nuclear power industry and its major foreign partners.

According to available data, EDF is a Paris-based power company with revenue of 65.2 billion euros in fiscal 2010. Its operations include power plant operations, power distribution, power plant design, and power trading, in Europe, South America, North America, Asia, and the Middle East. EDF operates more than 120 GW of power stations, of which nuclear power accounts for 74.5%.

Areva is a nuclear industry company. As a global top 500 company, Areva is second to none in the world in nuclear energy design and construction. Its main businesses include nuclear fuel mining, nuclear fuel refining and sales, nuclear reactor design, manufacturing, and nuclear waste recycling. Wait.

According to Cao Wei, director of energy power at Martec Magellan (Shanghai) Investment Management Consulting Co., Ltd., China Guangdong Nuclear Power still has a gap in its design capabilities compared to other major nuclear power design institutes in China.

"China Guangdong Nuclear Co., Ltd. desperately wants to cooperate with overseas nuclear power companies in order to expand its own technological capabilities. Now the country's attitude in approving nuclear power projects is becoming more and more clear, and it will be tilted toward companies with design capabilities," Cao said.

Even so, China Guangdong Nuclear Power still attracted the attention of EDF. Reuters said that EDF believes that the company’s previous bid for the UAE’s nuclear power bill was largely due to Areva’s EPR nuclear reactors being too large (1.6 million kilowatts) and the cost being too high. In 2011, EDF hopes to jointly develop with China Nuclear Power, and hopes to design and build a smaller, cheaper nuclear reactor to increase its competitiveness.

As to whether the EDF has been investigated by the French Ministry of Finance, it will not be known whether this will affect the aforementioned three-way cooperation. "The nuclear power industry is very special and very secretive. The struggle for such interests is also very common," Cao said.

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