China stalls in its push for nuclear power
Aims to approve eight new nuclear reactor projects this year
CGN’s Taishan units see further delay in commercial operations
China’s decision to approve its first new nuclear reactors in two years may need to wait for its success starting up the world’s first next-generation units.
Plans to green-light eight reactors this year in the world’s fastest-growing nuclear market, announced last week, could depend on whether it’s able to complete some of the world’s most-advanced facilities, including Westinghouse Electric Co.’s AP1000 and Areva SA’s EPR. The first such reactors may come online as early as the first half, followed by new approvals, according to Karl Liu, an analyst at BOC International Holdings Ltd. in Hong Kong.
“There are indications that Chinese policy makers want to wait for the AP1000s and EPRs under construction to come online and see how they do operationally before approving new projects,” said M.V. Ramana, a professor at the University of British Columbia. “I am not entirely sure that this plan will actually translate into reality.”
China is seeking to be the first country to bring online either an AP1000 or EPR, so-called generation III+ reactors, which have suffered costly delays in the U.S. and Europe. The world’s second-biggest economy, and largest energy consumer, is aiming to boost its nuclear power capacity and develop its own next-generation technology for export.
Construction delays for third-generation units are among reasons the Chinese government approved no new reactors last year, according to BOC’s Liu.
“The country wants to wait until the first AP1000 reactor successfully starts commercial operations before approving reactors using the same or similar technologies,” he said. …….
Originally designed to be cheaper and safer than earlier technology, growing complexity and new safety requirements of third-generation reactors are among cost issues that contributed to Westinghouse’s parent company Toshiba Corp. taking a multi-billion dollar writedown this year and Areva seeking a government bailout.
China’s power-generation overcapacity is another possible risk to new approvals, according to Ramana at the University of British Columbia. The country began showing signs of a glut as early as 2013, and hit a high in 2015, according to IHS Markit…….https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-20/china-nuclear-ambitions-seen-stalled-by-next-generation-reactors
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