China and France Deepen Cooperation in Nuclear Energy as Tool for Carbon Free Future

China and France Deepen Cooperation in Nuclear Energy as Tool for Carbon Free Future

The Lede: China and France have declared their intention to expand their cooperation in nuclear energy, in order to facilitate a transition towards a carbon-free energy system. In a meeting in China earlier this month, Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Xi Jinping reaffirmed their commitment to the Cooperation Agreement for Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy which provides a framework for collaborating on cutting-edge research and development.

What We Know:

  • The China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and Electricity of France (EDF) have signed a memorandum of understanding on low-carbon energy development, agreeing to collaborate in research on technological development direction and market trends within nuclear energy fields, as well as compiling a 'Blue Book' that highlights their respective companies' shared views on climate change mitigation efforts and energy issues.
  • China General Nuclear (CGN) and EDF recently inked an agreement to promote their collaboration in research, design, procurement, as well as operation and maintenance of nuclear energy facilities.
  • In the joint statement, both countries agreed to cooperate on reprocessing nuclear waste.

Background: China and France have a long-standing collaboration in the civilian nuclear energy sector, with France providing technology and expertise since the 1970s. Both countries are striving towards transitioning towards carbon-free energy systems – China by 2060, France by 2050 – with nuclear energy seen as an essential element as it provides low-carbon sources that provide stable sources of electricity.

Likely Outcomes:

  • China and France's cooperation in nuclear energy is expected to deepen, with joint research and development on cutting-edge technologies as well as increased industrial and technological cooperation.
  • The nuclear energy sector is expected to play an increasingly significant role in both countries' efforts towards carbon neutrality.


  • "China will support the development of European enterprises in China, and encourage competent Chinese enterprises to invest in Europe." – Yu Yuantang, Head of the European Department of the Ministry of Commerce.
  • “The two countries are committed to continuing their nuclear cooperation on cutting-edge research and development topics, in particular on the basis of the agreement between the Atomic Energy Authority of China (CAEA) and [France’s] Commission for Atomic Energy & Alternative Energies (CEA).” – Decision signed by President Macron and President Xi Jinping.
  • "In the future, the two sides will also deepen industrial cooperation and strengthen cooperation in the field of civil nuclear energy." – CGN

Good Reads:

France renews nuclear co-operation with China  (Nuclear Engineering International)

China, France expand nuclear cooperation (World Nuclear News)