Firm ready to go on nuclear plant
China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), the nation's largest nuclear power conglomerate, said it is ready to start construction of a new nuclear power plant in Sanmen, in East China's Zhejiang Province.
The project is part of the government's massive plan to expand in a big way nuclear power generation to meet surging electricity demands in booming coastal areas.
CNNC yesterday said the company has almost finished the infrastructure ground work - flattening the site and providing electricity and water - for the Sanmen project, laying a foundation for the official construction.
The project aims to build all together six 1,000-megawatt nuclear power reactors. It will build two reactors as the first phase. Investment in the first phase is estimated at about 20 billion yuan (US$2.4 billion).
The company said it is now preparing documents to invite international tenders for the design, equipment supply and construction of the first phase.
The Sanmen project is one of four nuclear projects CNNC is applying to the central government to build. Each project involves two 1,000-megawatt reactors.
CNNC plans to construct two nuclear reactors at the existing second phase in the Qinshan Nuclear Power Project in Zhejiang - the first self-developed commercial nuclear power generators in China.
Another two will be constructed in Lin'ao in South China's Guangdong Province as an expansion of the existing Lin'ao Nuclear Power Plant.
The four units will be duplication projects, copying the technology used in the existing plants with minor improvements.
Meanwhile, the company is lobbying the government to build two reactors in Yangjiang in South China's Guangdong Province and another two in Sanmen in Zhejiang.
Unlike the duplication projects, the Sanmen and Yangjiang projects will adopt so-called "next-generation" technology which is safer and more economic than existing technology.
CNNC said it has been working with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp and China Technology Import Export Corp to compile international bidding documents since last August.
International nuclear power giants such as French Avera and Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse, are eager to obtain the contracts for the new nuclear plants. They believe the new contracts would allow them to take a lion's share in the China's nuclear power markets. China wants to standardize technology and design for nuclear plants to be built in the future.
Facing an electricity shortage, the Chinese Government plans to raise the country's nuclear power-generating capacity by four times over its current level to 36,000 megawatts by 2020. That can be translated to at least two more nuclear reactors annually in the next 16 years.
China's nuclear power plants produced 43.7 billion kilowatt hours of electricity last year. It accounts for 2.3 per cent of the nation's total electricity generation, as compared with a world average of 16 per cent.
(China Daily 07/06/2004 page10)