Chinese Nuclear Firms Compete Abroad for Exports and for Market Share at Home, Energy Collective Two giant rival Chinese state-owned nuclear firms are pulling out the stops to achieve success with exports and increased market share of the restarted domestic reactor construction program. The so-called Hualong One, a 1000 MW PWR type reactor, is being hawked by both firms, but with significant enough design differences that potential customers worry about supply chain issues……..
Moving Inland from the Coast
Up to now China has been building its reactors at coastal sites. The reasons include the available seawater for cooling the units and the ability to deliver very large reactor components by barge. However, the China National Energy Administration is now looking at inland sites again. Following the Fukushima earthquake, the agency suspended consideration of new construction starts away from coastal regions.
The main issue was consideration of adequate cooling water supplies in an emergency. At issue is a 100% fail safe supply of water in regions which may have some areas which may have inadequate freshwater resources even without the demand of a new power plant………http://theenergycollective.com/dan-yurman/2223861/chinese-nuclear-firms-compete-abroad-exports-and-market-share-home
Obama proposes 30-year agreement with China on nuclear power WASHINGTON
(Reuters) 22 Apr – President Barack Obama on Tuesday proposed a 30-year agreement to cooperate with China on nuclear power, a deal that would allow the transfer of material, reactors, components and technology between the two nations, if approved by the U.S. Congress.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Jeff Mason!) http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/21/us-usa-china-nuclear-idUSKBN0NC29220150421
The US Congress has to approve the nuclear cooperation agreement for it to go into effect. http://sputniknews.com/us/20150421/1021197861.html#ixzz3Xz1ERlru
The French reactor, at the Flamanville EPR nuclear power plant, is a third-generation pressurised water reactor of similar design and build to the two reactors being installed at a new plant in Taishan. Quality inspectors at Flamanville found an abnormally high concentration of carbon in steel parts capping the reactor vessel’s top and bottom during a series of tests carried out by French nuclear company Areva, which is building the reactor.
The excessive carbon would lead to “lower than expected mechanical toughness values”, nuclear regulator ASN said in a press statement on its website, without giving more details.
The toughness of the reactor shell was crucial because it relates to the ability of the material to withstand the propagation of cracks. The steel shell of a reactor has to be extremely tough to withstand decades of operation.
It was unknown whether the Taishan reactors had the same problem, but the issue might be worth China’s concern, the French authorities said. ASN had “informed” relevant foreign counterparts, the statement said.
“The vessel of a pressurised water reactor is equipment that is particularly important for safety,” the ASN added. “It contains the fuel and takes part in the radioactivity second containment barrier.”
The problematic steel parts at Flamanville were made by Creusot Forge, a subsidiary of Areva, which also made the same parts for the two reactors in Taishan with similar manufacturing technology, according to a Reuters report. It was unclear whether the Taishan reactors had undergone similar tests before they were shipped to China……..http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1762861/french-warning-nuclear-reactors-being-built-guangdong
Wind Power Beats Nuclear Again in China. Earth Policy Institute
J. Matthew Roney. 5 Mar 15 China, the country that is building more nuclear reactors than any other, continued to get more electricity from the wind than from nuclear power plants in 2014. This came despite below-average wind speeds for the year. The electricity generated by China’s wind farms in 2014—16 percent more than the year before—could power more than 110 million Chinese homes.
China added a world record 23 gigawatts of new wind power capacity in 2014, for a cumulative installed capacity of nearly 115 gigawatts (1 gigawatt = 1,000 megawatts). Some 84 percent of this total—or 96 gigawatts—is connected to the grid, sending carbon-free electricity to consumers.
As China’s wind power installations took off in the mid-2000s, electric grid and transmission infrastructure expansion could not keep pace. But the situation is improving: China is building the world’s largest ultra-high-voltage transmission system, which is connecting remote, wind-rich northern and western provinces to the more populous central and eastern ones. At the same time, the government is providing incentives for wind farm development in less-windy areas nearer to population centers. Advances in wind power technology can allow greater capture of energy in spots without the strongest wind resources.wind resources.
China’s wind power goal is to have 200 gigawatts connected to the grid by 2020. According to China’s National Energy Administration, the country has some 77 gigawatts of wind capacity now under construction, bringing this goal that much closer to being realized. Efforts to bolster the grid and connect more turbines are reducing the amount of potential wind generation lost each year due to curtailment, when turbines must stop producing because the grid cannot take on any more electricity. Since 2012, the rate of this curtailment at China’s wind farms has dropped by more than half; however, further improvements are still needed……..ttp://www.earth-policy.org/data_highlights/2015/highlights50
Reprocessing in China: A long, risky journey, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, April 15 Hui Zhang“………Should China continue pursuing its plans for fast breeder reactors and commercialized reprocessing? Good reasons exist for avoiding this course of action. First, because most of China’s power reactors are newly built, Beijing will face little pressure over the next two decades to reduce its spent fuel burden. And spent fuel can be stored safely, at low cost, in dry casks—or disposed of safely in a deep geological repository.
Second, China faces no shortage of uranium resources for the foreseeable future. The nation’s identified resources more than tripled between 2003 and 2012, to 265,500 metric tons from 77,000 metric tons. China’s potential uranium reserves amount to more than 2 million tons. Beijing in recent times has also secured huge overseas uranium resources—about three times as large as its own identified uranium reserves. More such reserves could easily be added.
In any event, the cost of uranium accounts for only a small percentage of the cost of power that reactors generate. Simply put, the cost of uranium will not increase in the foreseeable future to levels that would justify the cost of reprocessing and breeder reactors. To the extent that China is concerned about potential disruptions in its uranium supply, it could easily and inexpensively establish a “strategic” uranium stockpile.
China should carefully examine the experiences of nations that have launched large reprocessing programs and built demonstration breeder reactors in the expectation that the commercialization of these reactors would follow. Commercialization did not follow in those countries—but huge expenses were incurred for cleaning up reprocessing sites and disposing of separated plutonium. For China, there is no urgent need to go down this risky road.
Plutonium recycling is much more expensive, and much less safe and secure, than operating light water reactors with a once-through fuel cycle. As for nuclear waste, dry cask storage is a safe, flexible, and low-cost option that can postpone for decades the need either to reprocess spent fuel or to dispose of it directly—allowing time for technology to develop. China has no convincing rationale for rushing to build commercial-scale reprocessing facilities or plutonium breeder reactors. http://thebulletin.org/reprocessing-poised-growth-or-deaths-door8185
Reprocessing in China: A long, risky journey, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Hui Zhang , April 15 Since 1983, a closed fuel cycle has been an official element of China’s nuclear energy policy. According to proponents, plutonium reprocessing and breeder reactors will allow full utilization of China’s uranium resources, drastically reduce the volume of radioactive waste that must be stored in an underground repository, and establish a way to dispense with the spent fuel accumulating in China’s reactor pools.
But Beijing’s attempts to develop commercially viable reprocessing facilities and breeder reactors have been afflicted with technological difficulties, serious delays, and cost overruns. At this point—especially taking into account China’s ample uranium resources and its easy access to additional resources abroad—it appears very doubtful that reprocessing and fast reactors are the proper way forward for China’s nuclear energy sector.
Not according to plan………..
Parallel with development of the pilot reprocessing plant, China has been working to establish commercially viable plutonium breeder reactors. According to a plan in place until 2013, development of breeder reactors was to be a three-stage process. The first stage was to complete a project known as the China Experimental Fast Reactor. The second stage would involve building, by about 2020, a few demonstration fast reactors. Finally, commercialized fast reactors would be deployed around 2030. Progress always ran far behind schedule.
The China Experimental Fast Reactor is a sodium-cooled experimental fast reactor using technology developed for Russia’s BN-600 reactor. The project, with a planned capacity of 20 megawatts, was approved in 1995. Construction began in 2000. As with the pilot reprocessing plant, the experimental fast reactor encountered many difficulties during construction. Capital cost estimates had to adjusted twice, with each estimate double the previous one. The reactor went critical in July 2010 and, by July 2011, 40 percent of its full power was incorporated into the grid. The reactor, however, was online for only 26 hours during the remainder of 2011, and it produced the equivalent of just one full power-hour. Not until December 2014 did the reactor manage to operate at full capacity for 72 hours. So 19 years passed between project approval and operation at full capacity.
As for the second stage of the pre-2013 plan, CNNC in 2009 signed an agreement with Russia’s Rosatom to jointly construct two copies of Russia’s BN-800 fast neutron reactor in China. But Beijing has not officially approved the project. As with the French reprocessing plant, Chinese experts complain that Russia is demanding too high a price. It is not clear when or if the project will go forward. Instead, CNNC in 2013 began focusing on the development of the indigenous 600-megawatt China Fast Reactor (CFR-600). The start of construction is envisioned for 2017, with operations to commence in 2023—but the government has not approved the project yet.
Experts from CNNC have also, since 2013, urged the development of China’s first commercial fast reactor—a 1,000-megawatt reactor based on experience gained from the CFR-600. But CNNC expert Gu Zhongmao—an advocate of the closed fuel cycle—said at a recent workshop on nuclear energy in East Asia that “China needs at least another 20 to 30 years of effort before commercialization of fast reactor energy systems, and there are so many uncertainties ahead. It is beyond our ability to draw a clear picture 20 years ahead.”…………. http://thebulletin.org/reprocessing-poised-growth-or-deaths-door8185
As China looks to energy solutions to reduce the air pollution choking its cities, to conserve water, and to rein in its carbon emissions, it is becoming clear that renewables offer a more expeditious path than nuclear power does.
Wind Power Beats Nuclear Again in China. Earth Policy Institute, J. Matthew Roney. 5 Mar 15 “…………Even as it pursues the world’s most ambitious wind power goal, China also undeniably has the world’s most aggressive nuclear construction program, currently accounting for 25 of the 68 reactors being built worldwide. Six reactors totaling 6 gigawatts of capacity went online in China in 2013 and 2014. Another reactor connected to the grid in January 2015, bringing national nuclear capacity to 20 gigawatts at 24 reactors. But to meet the government’s nuclear target of 58 gigawatts by 2020, China will not only need to complete the reactors now under construction—most of which are behind schedule—it will need to start and finish another dozen or so by then.
Several factors stack the odds against China meeting its nuclear power goal. After a massive earthquake and tsunami induced the 2011 nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, the Chinese government suspended approvals for new reactors as it conducted safety reviews of those operating and under construction at the time. The moratorium was lifted in late 2012, yet for more than two years no new reactors received permission to build. In February 2015, a nuclear plant in northeastern Liaoning province reportedly got the go-ahead for a two-reactor expansion. Once construction begins, it typically takes six years to complete a reactor in China (compared with one year or less for the average wind farm).
Further complicating China’s nuclear picture is that suitable real estate for new reactors along the coast—with ready access to cooling water—is in increasingly short supply. Following the Fukushima disaster, public opposition to reactors in China’s earthquake-prone inland provinces grew, prompting officials to put off consideration of proposed reactors in non-coastal provinces until 2015 at the earliest. Regardless of when the government decides to begin approving inland reactors, nuclear developers will face dwindling freshwater resources.
Perhaps the biggest question facing the future of nuclear power in China is the fate of the 1-gigawatt Sanmen reactor under construction in Zhejiang province. Designed by Westinghouse, this is a “Generation III” reactor billed as much safer than previous nuclear technologies, due to its earthquake and flood resistance features and its ability to continue cooling in the event of a prolonged loss of power. Sanmen is both the basis for Chinese-designed third generation reactors and a test case for the technology closely watched worldwide.
When construction got under way at Sanmen in 2009, completion was projected by the end of 2013. Blaming increased safety concerns and design changes post-Fukushima, the developer pushed this date back to 2015. Then in January 2015, the chief engineer of China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corp., Wang Zhongtang, announced that Sanmen would not generate electricity until 2016, if that soon. As the project runs further behind schedule and goes further over-budget, more doubt is cast on the design’s ability to catalyze faster nuclear power growth in China.
China’s energy landscape is changing rapidly. Consumption of coal, which supplies about 75 percent of Chinese electricity, dropped nearly 3 percent in 2014, according to official datafrom China’s National Bureau of Statistics. Meanwhile, in addition to the impressive growth in wind power, China is quickly expanding its solar generating capacity. With 28 gigawatts by the end of 2014 and plans for another 15 gigawatts in 2015, China may overtake Germany for the top solar spot in a matter of months. As China looks to energy solutions to reduce the air pollution choking its cities, to conserve water, and to rein in its carbon emissions, it is becoming clear that renewables offer a more expeditious path than nuclear power does.
J. Matthew Roney is a Research Associate with Earth Policy Institute and co-author of The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy . (W.W. Norton, 2015). Visit the Table of Contents to download Chapter Changing Direction, or pre-order your copy from the EPI Bookstore. More resources are available at www.earth-policy.org.
Chinese nuclear reactors ‘did not receive latest safety tests before installation’ French manufacturer said recent test detected fault that could lead to cracks in reactor shell, South China Morning Post , 11 April, 2015 Stephen Chen email@example.com Two new nuclear reactors in Taishan, Guangdong, did not undergo the same quality tests as a similar reactor in France that was found to have weak spots prone to cracks.
Special tests at the Flamanville EPR nuclear power plant were only carried out last year after France tightened its nuclear safety regulations, France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) told the South China Morning Post.
No such tests were conducted on the two third-generation EPR Taishan reactors before French nuclear manufacturer Areva shipped them to China. That meant the 50-billion yuan (HK$63 billion) Taishan plant, located about 80km west of Zhuhai and Macau, could be plagued by the same problem and not be detected.
The tests in France found that excessive carbon in the steel that formed the reactor’s top and bottom could lead to unexpected cracks that could later spread.
The news comes as a shock to China’s burgeoning nuclear sector. With the completion date of the first project phrase expected by the end of this year, the Taishan EPR plant was a landmark project for China’s nuclear sector.
The plant’s two advanced 1.75GW pressurised water reactors were to be the world’s largest single-piece electric generators and their operation was said to be the safest, too.
Now it is not certain whether the Taishan reactors would comply with France’s stricter standards……….http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1763315/taishan-nuclear-reactors-did-not-receive-most-updated-safety-tests
China approves first nuclear project since Fukushima http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/10/china-nuclear-approval-idUSL4N0WC3N620150310 China has given the go-ahead for the launch of a major domestic nuclear power project, marking the first such approval since a temporary freeze on new construction following Japan’s Fukushima disaster.
China General Nuclear Power Group has received state approval to build two one-gigawatt (GW) reactors in the second phase of a project called Hongyanhe in the northeastern province of Liaoning, the Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.
The project will use what the company calls home-grown “third-generation” reactor technology, dubbed ACPR1000, the report said, citing Yang Xiaofeng, general manager of the Hongyanhe project.
China froze new construction and implemented a year-long safety review after the Fukushima disaster in 2011.
While it lifted the construction ban at the end 2012, China has been slow to approve new nuclear projects. Beijing has promised to stick to the highest safety standards, using third generation reactors.
In an estimated $100 billion expansion programme, China aims to raise its domestic nuclear power capacity to 58 GWs by 2020 from 20.3 GW at the end of 2014. Nuclear capacity would still only meet 3 percent of China’s total electricity needs by 2020.
But industry executives and analysts say it faces a major obstacle: it needs to show it can build and safely operate these reactors at home first.
China General Nuclear is the state-owned parent of CGN Power , which raised $3.2 billion in an initial public offering in Hong Kong in December. (Reporting by Charlie Zhu in Hong Kong and David Stanway in Beijing; editing by David Clarke)
China Builds Nuclear Reactors in Earthquake-Prone Pakistan by Nick Cunningham Oil Price.com e, 10 March 2015
China has decided to defy international norms and build new nuclear reactors in Pakistan.
While the U.S. and Europe see stagnant growth for commercial nuclear power, the same is not true in Asia. China is not only building nuclear reactors at home, but it is exporting its technology abroad. Of particular concern is its construction of nuclear reactors in Pakistan. China helped build two reactors at Chashma, which came online in 2000 and 2011 respectively. More recently, it has decided to double the size of the Chashma power plant, with two additional reactors under construction. And it is also constructing a new nuclear power plant near Karachi, using China’s next generation ACP-1000 design.
But China’s plans in Pakistan are facing global criticism.
The problem is that Pakistan is not a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), which should disqualify it for any international help in building nuclear power plants. The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a coalition of nuclear technology exporting countries who have banded together to create guidelines and norms around the sale of nuclear technology in order to ensure its safe use while guarding against the spread of nuclear weapons capabilities. One of the core tenets of the NSG is to not trade nuclear technology to countries that have not signed up to the NPT. Pakistan is one of the world’s four remaining holdouts to the NPT (the other three are India, Israel, and South Sudan).
That is why China’s decision to build nuclear reactors in Pakistan has received criticism. As a member of the NSG, China is defying the guidelines on nuclear trade. China says that its promise to Pakistan predates its 2004 accession to the suppliers group……..http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/China-Builds-Nuclear-Reactors-in-Earthquake-Prone-Pakistan.html
CPPCC eyes inland nuke power By Cao Siqi Source:Global Times 2015-3-11 :”………..He Zuoxiu, a theoretical physicist with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, argued against the proposal.
Compared with coastal plants, inland nuclear plants have more complicated requirements where location and geological conditions are concerned, and authorities must take population growth into careful account, as well as emergency evacuation and radioactive exhaust emissions, said the physicist.
He Zuoxiu added that such projects would carry with them tremendous potential danger, which in turn necessitates thorough consideration prior to any construction.
RPT-“Made in China” nuclear reactors a tough sell in global market Mar 8, 2015 By Charlie Zhu and David Stanway (Reuters) – As China signs global deals to export its nuclear power technology, it faces a huge obstacle: it still needs to show it can build and safely operate these reactors at home……..
Premier Li Keqiang told an annual parliamentary meeting this week that the China aimed to increase its share of global sales in a range of advanced industries, including implementing major projects in nuclear power. And in a sign of progress on exporting its own nuclear technology, China signed a preliminary agreement last month to sell its flagship Hualong 1 reactor to Argentina.
But despite state media describing the deal as the model’s “maiden voyage”, China has not yet built Hualong 1, raising questions about the country’s capacity to deliver reactors for the global market.
“Our fatal weakness is our management standards are not high enough. There is a big gap with international standards,” said Xu Lianyi, a senior expert at China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corp (SNPTC), referring to the challenges China faces expanding its nuclear power sector.
SNPTC, which was set up to receive technology transferred from Westinghouse Electric Co., is trying to develop another reactor ultimately targeted at the world market. Although China has operated Western-designed reactors at home for more than 20 years, it will need to convince buyers of the reliability of its own technology, particularly given a chequered reputation on industrial standards and safety in some other areas such as mining.
China’s first Hualong 1 project, in Fujian province, may not be completed until 2020, assuming it breaks ground this year and construction goes smoothly, said Li Ning, dean of the School of Energy Research at Xiamen University…….
Beijing has promised to stick to the highest safety standards, using so-called “third generation” reactors like Hualong 1 and CAP1400, another home-grown model identified for future export. Due to be based on technology transferred from Westinghouse, the launch of CAP1400 will depend on the completion of a pilot Westinghouse third-generation reactor in Zhejiang province, which is facing a three-year delay because of technological problems……
Under a hotly-fought multibillion-dollar nuclear power deal struck with Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse, China secured a significant technology transfer agreement in 2007. China has been absorbing and localising the technology to develop the CAP1400 and says it has full intellectual property rights on the model and Hualong 1.
The Beijing office of Westinghouse, which is now controlled by Japan’s Toshiba Corp, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
While technology rights may not stoke tensions, Beijing’s pledge to aid the overseas expansion of Chinese firms risks raising the hackles of competitors if sectors like nuclear are deemed unfairly subsidised…….
an official at the China National Nuclear Corporation, which is leading efforts to export Hualong 1 to Argentina, said China still has “huge amounts of work to do” before it can become a nuclear powerhouse, including rolling out Hualong I at home. The official declined to be named because he was not authorised to speak to the media…….http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/08/china-nuclear-idUSL4N0WA0T620150308
China, Pakistan, and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Recent evidence regarding China’s involvement in Pakistan’s nuclear program should provoke international scrutiny. The Diplomat By Rohan Joshi February 16, 2015 China’s confirmation that it is involved in at least six nuclear power projects in Pakistan underscores long-standing concerns over both the manner in which both China and Pakistan have gone about engaging in nuclear commerce and the lack of transparency around China-Pakistan nuclear cooperation in general. The guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a 48-nation body that regulates the export of civilian nuclear technology, prohibit the export of such technology to states, like Pakistan, that have not adopted full-scope International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. Yet over the last decade, China has accelerated nuclear commerce with Pakistan while contending that its actions are in compliance with NSG guidelines, an argument that is not entirely convincing.
Today, China is not only a violator of global nuclear non-proliferation norms, but also presents the most convincing evidence of the non-proliferation regime’s ineffectiveness. The pattern of its behavior on the nuclear front as it relates to Pakistan goes well beyond the scope of what may be construed as the state’s legitimate ambition to be a leader in the supply of civilian nuclear technology…….http://thediplomat.com/2015/02/china-pakistan-and-nuclear-non-proliferation/
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, 12 Feb 15 BEIJING–Facing growing energy demands and struggling against air pollution, China this year plans to resume full-scale construction of nuclear power plants for the first time since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011.
The country’s target is to triple the electricity generation capacity of its nuclear power plants to 58 gigawatts by 2020. That figure would approach the level of France, whose current nuclear generation capacity is second only to that of the United States.
But the variety of reactors that China wants to fire up has raised concerns that workers and engineers will be ill-prepared if a disaster strikes………
In November 2014, China’s National Development and Reform Commission applied to the Standing Committee of the State Council for permission to build six nuclear reactors in the coastal area of Shidao Bay and other regions. The six include China’s first domestically produced third-generation reactors and new-type reactors with little actual operating experience.
Some government officials are cautious about approving the application…….
In China, three major state-run operators of nuclear power plants have adopted separate technologies from the United States, France and Russia. The various types of reactors and technologies used in China have sparked concerns about safety at the nuclear plants.
In addition, workers at nuclear plants in China have had little experience in dealing with emergencies. Critics also say that the nurturing of nuclear engineers in the country is not keeping pace with the rapid increase in the number of nuclear reactors.
(This article was written by Nozomu Hayashi and Tokuhiko Saito.) http://ajw.asahi.com/article/asia/china/AJ201502120074
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