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A nuclear energy pioneer, Westinghouse Electric Company is a leading supplier of nuclear plant products and technologies to utilities throughout the world.
China is now using its AP1000 technology to build four nuclear reactors.
Since the 1990s, the company has been playing an active role in China's nuclear industry.
Tim Collier, vice-president and managing director, Westinghouse China, sits down with China Daily to give an overview of the company's operations in 2012 and discusses prospects for the nuclear market in the future.
Q: What is your view on the future development of nuclear energy?
Our world is developing, and the demand for energy is increasing. To meet growing energy needs, nuclear must remain a part of the energy mix.
In our opinion, global drivers for nuclear energy remain the same. The growing need for electricity and the desire to produce electricity without harming the environment has sparked a desire to use nuclear energy.
This has to be done in the safest possible way. And we view safety as our top priority in design and in all phases.
With a passion to serve customers and to partner with people and countries around the world, Westinghouse is dedicated to providing technology, support and service that will help supply future generations with safe, clean and reliable electricity. We have had a rich history with China and have been playing an active role in the domestic nuclear energy sector since the 1990s.
We are honored and happy to be here for a long time and growing together with China's nuclear industry.
Q: China's Sanmen and Haiyang projects are the world's first to use your AP1000 technology-a Generation III+ nuclear technology. Could you share with us the latest developments of the two projects?
Nothing is more important to Westinghouse than the safe and successful completion of the projects in China.
We are now working closely with our Chinese customers to move forward the Sanmen and Haiyang projects. Construction on the two projects achieved many milestones in 2012.
For instance, the main pumps have been successfully tested and are on the way to the site.
And the four steam generators for Sanmen and Haiyang Unit 1 have all arrived at the respective sites.
These are major steps forward for the China AP1000 projects.
Because we are building the world's first nuclear power projects using the Generation III+ AP1000 technology, we have encountered challenges in the construction process.
We are excited to see that we have already overcome most of these challenges through working together with our customers. We are confident in delivering the world-class technology with AP1000 pressurized water reactors.
We believe that the AP1000 technology represents the highest level of safety as indicated in the recently released China Energy Policy.
The projects also represent the strong international collaboration between China and the US in safe and clean energy.
Q: Apart from construction progress on Sanmen and Haiyang projects, what are your other big achievements in 2012 in China?
Westinghouse has four major product lines, which are nuclear services, nuclear fuel, nuclear power plants, and nuclear automation.
Construction on Sanmen and Haiyang projects is mainly under the business of nuclear power plants. Besides nuclear power plant business, our other business lines have also quickened their development pace here in China.
On June 8, 2012, Westinghouse and its China joint venture partner, the State Nuclear Baoti Zirconium Industry Ltd, established a new zirconium sponge plant production facility-the State Nuclear WEC Zirconium Hafnium Co in Nantong, Jiangsu province.
This joint venture facility will produce nuclear-grade zirconium - a key component of the tubing process used in nuclear fuel assembly operations - to manufacture specialized parts of nuclear fuel assemblies in China and globally.
On April 23, 2012, Westinghouse signed an agreement to establish a joint venture with Taiyuan Heavy Machinery Group Co, a new company based in Taiyuan. This will help to provide the assembly, testing and sale of new critical crane components and fuel-handling equipment as well as the associated services and spare parts to the local nuclear market.
China is one of our strategic markets worldwide. We will continue to take a close look at the opportunities in China. We will also deepen our cooperation with State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation.
Q: China's State Council approved the national plan for nuclear power security (2011-20) and nuclear power development (2011-20) in 2012. According to the plan, all new nuclear projects are required to use Generation III technology. What's your view on this plan?
This plan clears the way for the approval of new nuclear projects in China and emphasizes the need for safe development of those projects.
We welcome this plan and will continue to collaborate with Chinese government and our partners to improve the domestic nuclear industry.
In my opinion, the major signals contained in the plan are twofold. One is the emphasis on nuclear safety.
According to this plan, China will use "the highest global safety requirements" when building new projects. This shows that the government considers the safe operation and regulation of nuclear plants a top priority.
The other one is the confidence in continuous development in the use of nuclear energy. It is certain that nuclear power will continue to grow in order to sustain a reliable mixture of electricity.
We see these two things as positive trends for China's nuclear industry. China's nuclear industry has seen rapid growth in recent years.
This has provided great opportunities to Westinghouse, and we are honored to be part of this historical moment.
(China Daily 01/08/2013 page15)