A model of a third-generation nuclear power generating plant on display at an expo in Beijing. Gong Wenbao / for China Daily
BEIJING - The Chinese nuclear industry is developing rapidly and the experience it is gaining provides Chinese companies opportunities to invest in the United Kingdom, a UK expert said.
The major area of opportunity is for companies that manufacture components for the AP-1000 - the third generation technology of Westinghouse - or Areva reactors, said Tim Stone, who is the chairman of KPMG's Global Infrastructure & Projects Group.
"These are the reactors that either are already being used in the UK or could well be once our nuclear companies have chosen the technology they will use. Those Chinese component manufacturers could supply their components in the UK," Stone told China Daily.
"In the UK, the three companies who are planning to build new nuclear plants are EdF, Horizon and NuGeneration," he said.
"The easy way [for China] to get into the UK is through their partnership with Westinghouse or Areva," he added.
Stone also said that China's nuclear development will slow down in the next two to three years, but in the long term the country will pick up the pace because it needs clean, cheap energy to cut its reliance on the polluting oil and coal.
The State Council, the country's cabinet, decided on March 16 to halt new approvals for nuclear projects.
Germany and Switzerland have both announced they will shut down all their nuclear power plants because of the nuclear crisis in Japan.
"The decision will not affect the UK. If the country doesn't use nuclear power, the cost of power generation will increase 40 to 50 percent," he said.
China currently has six nuclear power plants in operation, across the eastern and southern coasts. It intends to build several inland nuclear power plants, in provinces such as Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi and Jilin.
Lin Chengge, former deputy director of the National Nuclear Safety Administration, previously told China Daily that the country is expected to issue a nuclear safety plan in August, after which it will resume the approval process.
Chinese nuclear power developers China GD Power Development Co Ltd and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group are continuing cooperation for new projects, indicating their confidence in the clean energy.
Most recently, the two companies agreed to jointly build three nuclear plants in Jilin province.
China set a target of nuclear power production capacity reaching 86 gigawatts (gW) in 2020, from the current 10.8 gW, and nuclear power is set to be increased to 5 percent of total energy output by 2020, up from 1 percent now.
(China Daily 07/07/2011 page14)