China and France continue negotiations on reprocessing facility

France's New Areva and its partner China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) signed "a memorandum of commercial agreement" for the reprocessing facility and MOX fuel fabrication plant that Areva expects to build in China. The parties confirmed their commitment to the project and expressed hope that it will be launched in 2018.

However, the history of negotiations and the difficulty of siting the facility suggest that the deal is unlikely to be concluded soon, if ever. The initial letter of intent to build the reprocessing facility was signed in 2013, followed by at least two other agreements - in 2014 and in 2015. It appears that Lianyungang, Jiangsu province was initially chosen as the site of the new facility, but that decision was met with local protests, so it is possible that the plant will have to be built elsewhere.

The total cost of the contract is reported to be 100 billion yuan ($14.5 billion).