Electricite de France and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Company have signed a joint venture agreement for the ownership, construction and operation of two new-generation European pressurized reactors at Taishan in the province of Guangdong, China.

The two European pressurized reactor (EPR) units were developed by Areva and each have a capacity of 1,700MW. Construction could begin during 2009 and the units are expected to go into service in 2014. As part of the agreement, Electricite de France (EDF) will acquire a shareholding of approximately one third in Taishan Nuclear Power Company, which owns the EPRs.

EDF will contribute its nuclear power generation experience, while China Guangdong Nuclear Power Company (CGNPC) will be responsible for providing the building site and will make its engineering and operational capabilities available.

EDF and CGNPC also intend to sign a comprehensive co-operation agreement to study joint development projects in China and internationally. The joint venture agreement is subject to the approval of the Chinese authorities and of the governing bodies of the two signatory companies.

Pierre Gadonneix, chairman and CEO of EDF, said: This agreement is a major step for EDF which, for the first time, will become both investor and operator of nuclear reactors in China. We are delighted to broaden our co-operation with CGNPC, a major player in the Chinese nuclear industry, with whom we have been working in a spirit of trust for more than 20 years, since the construction and commissioning of Daya Bay and Ling Ao.