China signed a US$1 billion nuclear-fuel deal Friday with Russia, strengthening Moscow’s role as a supplier to the fast-growing Chinese nuclear power industry.
The deal was signed during a visit to Beijing by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Medvedev and Chinese President Hu Jintao watched as officials signed the deal at the Great Hall of the People, the seat of China’s legislature.
The agreement calls for Russia to build a US$500 million nuclear fuel enrichment plant in China and supply semi-enriched uranium worth at least US$500 million.
“It’s a good addition to our presence in China,” said Sergei Kiriyenko, chief of Rosatom, the Russian government-controlled nuclear equipment company.
Uranium deliveries would be spread over 10 years, said Kiriyenko, who was traveling with Medvedev.
Russia is looking to China as a key market for civilian nuclear technology as Beijing builds more nuclear power plants in an effort to curb surging consumption of fossil fuels.
China plans to build 40 plants by 2020, tripling the nuclear share of its power generation to 6%.
Earlier this year, a Russian company completed work on two 1,000-megawatt light-water reactors for China’s Tianwan nuclear power plant south of Shanghai.
A nuclear power plant built with Russian technology at Lianyungang on China’s east coast north of Shanghai began operating in 2006.
Other nuclear power plants in China are based on French, Canadian and Chinese technology. Westinghouse Electric Co. signed a deal last year to supply China’s first four U.S.-designed plants.