April 28, 2017 / 3:04 AM / 3 months ago

China nuclear firm urges more homegrown reactors to cut costs

3 Min Read

BEIJING, April 28 (Reuters) - A Chinese nuclear firm has urged the government to approve the large-scale construction of the country's homegrown third-generation "Hualong One" reactor to help cut costs and boost its competitiveness.

China National Nuclear Power Co. Ltd (CNNP), the listed unit of central government-run China National Nuclear Corp, warned nuclear's competitiveness against coal is falling and nuclear power needs the benefits of economies of scale.

"We now have a Hualong One demonstration project, we have units under construction at Fuqing and Fangchenggang and we just hope that more can be built in order to reduce costs and make it more economic," Luo Xiaowei, CNNP board secretary, told Reuters.

The Hualong One is the centrepiece of China's ambitious plan to dominate the global civil nuclear market. One unit is under construction in Pakistan, and China is also seeking regulatory approval for the model in Britain.

In China, which currently has 36 operational nuclear reactors, the Hualong One is competing with other third-generation technology reactors for a share of 100-150 new reactors planned to come into operation by 2030.

Third-generation reactor projects in China include the world's first AP1000, designed by Westinghouse and expected to go into full operation later this year, and two European Pressurised Reactors, designed by France's Areva, in the southeast province of Guangdong.

CNNP officials says the Hualong One, however, is the "most feasible option" for China as it tries to scale up its nuclear capacity and strengthen its position in the international reactor market.

All third-generation technology projects have suffered repeated delays and Zhang Huazhu, chairman of industry lobby group, the China Nuclear Energy Association (CNEA), told a conference here on Thursday that China's reliance on the largely untested technology could pose challenges.

China aims to raise nuclear installed capacity to 58 gigawatts by the end of 2020 and it has set a target of 200 gigawatts by the end of 2030.

$1 = 6.8958 Chinese yuan renminbi Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Richard Pullin

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