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Goliaths compete for nuclear plant pact
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-02-23 02:07

Three global nuclear power heavyweights now competing for designing and building four nuclear units in China will submit their proposals next Monday, a national nuclear technology company said yesterday.

The photo shows the nearly-finished Tianwan nuclear power plant, co-constructed by China and Russia, in Lianyungang, east Jiangsu Province on December 16, 2004. [newsphoto]
US-based Westinghouse, France's Areva and Russia's AtomStroyExport (ASE) are busy with finishing touches on their plans for four nuclear reactors in Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces.

The Preparatory Office of the State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation told China Daily that a ceremony will be organized on Monday to accept finished bids from the three competitors.

"We will soon organize assessments," the preparatory office official said.

He did not reveal when an announcement would come on a winner of the contract for the four 1,000-megawatt, pressurized-water nuclear power facilities. Two of the four units will be located in Sanmen, East China's Zhejiang Province, and the other two in Yangjiang, South China's Guangdong Province.

The preparatory office, which started work last September under the direct authority of the State Nuclear Power Self-reliance Leading Committee, is to set up the nuclear power corporation, organize tenders, carry out technology transfers and negotiate contracts for nuclear power projects.

Having been buried in aggressive competition, the three companies all boasted firm support from their own governments and are confident their companies will stand out.

The US-based Westinghouse, which has won no power plant contracts during its two-decade presence in China, stepped forward at the weekend with news that a combination of loans of up to almost US$5 billion have been approved by the US Export-Import Bank to help construct the four nuclear power reactors.

Liu Xingang, chief representative of Westinghouse China, said the promised loan will help meet the financial requirements required by the Chinese side, which has asked competitors to earmark capital for their proposals.

Liu said his confidence resulted from cutting-edge technology of the equipment and the government's deregulation of technology exports.

"The US Government has done a lot since last year to approve exports of the AP-1000 reactor to China," he said.

Arnaud de Bourayne, president AREVA China, said preparatory work on bidding started five months ago, with great enthusiasm, to meet the exact bid objectives.

"We are ready to deliver our scheme," said the president. But he did not disclose information on financing efforts.

Russia's ASE did not respond but an earlier report cited company confidence based on the close relationship between Russia and China. It has already been involved in the construction of two nuclear power units in China, which are expected to start operating this year.

China has drafted ambitious plans to construct nuclear power plants by 2020 in an effort to meet the increased demand for power.

(China Daily 02/23/2005 page1)

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