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U.S. Technology Picked for Nuclear Plants

09-11 11:06 Caijing Magazine

China’s decision to use the Westinghouse AP1000 standard is expected to speed inland growth of nuclear power.

By staff reporter Li Qiyan


China has officially adopted AP1000 nuclear power technology – a standard for plants designed by U.S.-based Westinghouse -- as the basis for inland nuclear projects.


Officials said the decision marks a key step toward faster development of the nation’s nuclear power industry.


A China Electricity Council (CEC) expert told Caijing the confirmation of a technology base will help China speed nuclear power development in areas beyond the eastern provinces where most nuclear stations now operate.


“AP1000 technology is suitable for inland nuclear power plants,” said Wang Binghua, board chairman for the State Nuclear Power Technology Corp. (SNPTC). “It is safer and more economical, and has unique advantages for nuclear power station construction in inland regions.”


All plants in a first batch of nuclear projects for inland regions have been slated to adopt the technology.


The process of choosing a technology has been a major hurdle for the nation’s nuclear industry.


In September 2004, China launched a competition for “third-generation nuclear technology.” Two years later, the government selected the AP1000 technology developed by U.S.-based Westinghouse Co. as the basis for four new nuclear plants at the Sanmen site in Zhejiang Province and Haiyang site in Shandong Province. Meanwhile, EPR technology developed by France’s Areva was chosen for the Taishan project in Guangdong Province.


Wang said SNPTC has been preparing to promote inland nuclear projects based on AP1000 technology through the site selection process, technological research and development, and the drafting of standards.


As a result, several nuclear projects are expected to receive construction approval soon, including Daban project in Hubei Province, the Taohuajiang plant in Hunan Province, and the Pengze project in Jiangxi Province.


Each project already has been approved by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the government’s economic planner, and preparation work is supposed to begin this year.


NDRC is studying applications for additional inland projects in Anhui, Jilin and Gansu provinces.


Under China’s nuclear power development scheme for 2005-’20, coastal provinces are preferred for nuclear power stations. But power-thirsty inland regions have been eagerly lobbying the central government for nuclear projects as well.


A CEC expert told Caijing the government is currently mulling a plan to revise the national development scheme by adding inland projects.


China currently operates 11 nuclear power reactors, and plans to build another 31 by 2020.

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