China able to supply reactor projects to other countries

Updated: 2012-03-15 11:03

By Liu Yiyu (China Daily)

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Chinese nuclear companies will become suppliers for Westinghouse Electric Co's AP1000 reactor projects in other countries as the nation approaches completion of the world's first AP1000 project.

"Ultimately, we will include Chinese manufacturers in the international supply chain," said Tim Collier, Westinghouse's vice-president and managing director for China.

As the first developer of AP1000 technology, China hopes to export its expertise through a partnership with Westinghouse.

"By the time the US builds its AP1000 reactors, we will send Chinese teams to assist and advise on the project," said Zhang Fubao, director of equipment at the State Nuclear Power Technology Corp.

In February, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission authorized the construction of two AP1000 reactors at the Vogtle site in Georgia. Site preparation has been completed and the components for preliminary construction are in place.

Westinghouse, developer of the 3G AP1000 technology, is building the world's first projects in China, with two reactors in Sanmen, Zhejiang province and another two in Haiyang, Shandong province. The first site is scheduled to start operations in March 2013.

"To build as many AP1000 plants as possible is a common objective we share with Chinese companies," said Collier.

China is prepared for the large-scale deployment of AP1000 technology, and the challenge is to ensure that suppliers deliver high-quality products on time, Collier said.

The country introduced AP1000 technology in 2007. That system is intended to be the mainstream technology of China's future nuclear plants.

Following the nuclear disaster that followed the earthquake and tsunami in Japan a year ago, China suspended approvals for nuclear power stations. It also conducted rigorous safety checks at all nuclear projects, including those under construction. No new project was approved or started last year.

The nuclear industry is not quite ready to move forward and lift the suspension, as not all necessary requirements have been completed, said Collier.

China has been discussing the resumption of new approvals for nuclear projects. The Nuclear Safety Plan and Mid- to Long-Term Development Plan of the Nuclear Industry are undergoing final reviews.

"These plans need to be finalized before the authorization of new projects and new construction," said Collier.

"We've learned over 5,000 lessons from the demonstration projects here in China and at least every two months, we have visitors from other countries to look at the sites and progress," Collier added.

"The lessons we learned here will enable the projects in the US and elsewhere to move on more quickly and efficiently."