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Russia, China ink cooperation deal on fast reactors, nuclear fuel cycle closure

The nuclear agencies of Russia and China have signed a “Comprehensive Long-Term Cooperation Program” on fast reactors and nuclear fuel cycle closure, according to an official statement by Rosatom.

The deal was signed on Tuesday by the Russian atomic energy company’s director general Alexey Likhachev and the chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority, Zhang Kejian on the sidelines of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit of to Moscow, Rosatom said Wednesday.

According to the statement, the document simultaneously addresses various strategic areas including “expansion of interaction with regard to the current projects as well as implementation of new ones related to fast reactors; production of uranium-plutonium fuel; management of spent nuclear fuel (SNF), etc.”

“The Comprehensive Program provides for development of the roadmap for its implementation by the end of 2024,” it added. “As a matter of fact, this involves cooperation over the decades ahead and establishment of the nuclear power engineering development vectors at the global level.”

Xi paid an official three-day trip to Russia, ending on Wednesday.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said there was nothing wrong with Beijing and Moscow cooperating in nuclear energy.

“It is normal and irreproachable for China and Russia to carry out civil nuclear energy cooperation within the framework of their respective international obligations and bilateral governmental agreements,” Wang told reporters.

“Fast-neutron reactor is recognized as one of the advanced pursuits of the 4th generation nuclear energy system internationally, which the US, France, Japan and other countries are researching on,” he added, according to Chinese daily Global Times.

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