Global nuclear majors target China

Updated: 2015-01-22 13:51

By LYU CHANG(China Daily)

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Global nuclear majors target China

A foreign visitor examines a Chinese nuclear power plant model at an energy expo in Beijing. Foreign energy giants are pinning their hopes on China's nuclear market and its huge potential for growth. [Photo/China Daily]

As nuclear power plants continue to be phased out by many countries, foreign energy giants are pinning their hopes on China's nuclear market, and its huge potential for growth.

International energy companies including Russia's state atomic energy corporation Rosatom, French energy giant EDF and Candu Energy Inc, a subsidiary of Canadian engineering giant SNC-Lavalin Inc, are all scrambling to invest in the country that already has the world's largest number of nuclear reactors under construction.

These three have already struck alliances with China's nuclear companies-EDF is a long standing partner of China General Nuclear Power Group; and both Rosatom and Candu have linked up with China National Nuclear Corp.

Candu built two reactors during the third phase of Qinshan nuclear power plant in China's eastern Zhejiang province a decade ago, and is now seeking to build new reactors both at home and abroad together with CNNC.

Ala Alizadeh, senior vice-president of Candu, said that a 22-member panel of Chinese experts has already given a "positive review" of the company's latest technology, describing the advanced fuel Candu reactor, or AFCR, as moving "one step closer to the market".

Alizadeh explained many of China's reactors are pressurized water reactors, and the used fuel from those can provide the fuel needed for the Candu reactor, meaning it can help China reduce its import of uranium-but he admitted this will not become a dominant technology for the Chinese nuclear industry, although "it can be a supplement to the country's existing nuclear technology applications".

China has already built 22 nuclear reactors, with another 26 under construction and more on the drawing board, but nuclear energy still accounts for less than 2 percent of total installed capacity, meaning huge room for growth. The smog hanging over many Chinese cities has also added to the urgency to develop the clean fuel.

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