France finalizes US$11.9 billion sale of two nuclear reactors to China

France's Areva finalized an €8 billion, or US$11.9 billion, deal to sell two nuclear reactors to China on Monday, a move the company said positioned it ideally for further rapid expansion in the fast growing economy. The long-expected announcement came at the start of formal talks in Beijing between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao. French, American and Russian suppliers have been vying for contracts in China, which plans to build as 32 nuclear plants by 2020 to meet surging power demands while cutting emissions and reducing reliance on imported oil. U.S. and French politicians have been lobbying Beijing hard on behalf of their companies. "When you look at China's energy problems, nuclear energy is not the whole answer, but it is part of the answer," Areva CEO Anne Lauvergeon told a news conference.