China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Sunday, February 18, 2007

China to construct first inland reactor

China's Business Newspaper

Friday, February 16, 2007

Several Chinese companies have formed a joint venture to build the country's first inland nuclear power plant as the nation's energy demand rises, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The plant will have a total capacity of four gigawatts, the report said Thursday, less than an earlier planned six gigawatts that Xinhua reported last October. Half the capacity will be installed in the project's first phase.

The plant will be built in Lishanhe Town, Taojiang County, in southern Hunan province, the report said.

"We hope this will be our first nuclear plant to be built in the country's landlocked regions," said Chen Hua, director of the nuclear department.

Shareholders of Hunan Taohua River Nuclear Power include China National Nuclear Corp, China Three Gorges Project Corp, China Resources and Hunan Xiangtou Holdings Group, Xinhua said.

The report gave no estimate for the size of the investment, nor did it say when building will start or finish.

China has six nuclear power plants with 11 reactors, all of which are located in coastal regions, the report added.

China wants to increase the use of alternative fuels including nuclear to reduce pollution and a dependence on oil and coal. The country needs to add two reactors a year to meet a target of generating 4 percent of its power from nuclear plants by 2020, from about 2.3 percent now.

In another development, sources in Beijing said France's nuclear reactor manufacturer Areva is in discussions with China on a possible new power plant, but reports that the French company had signed a deal were premature.

"What the media said about this project is not true, we have not announced anything," a Guangdong Nuclear Power Group spokesman said. "At the moment, we can't comment on this issue."

Press reports said that Areva had signed a deal with Guangdong Nuclear for two prototype EPR nuclear reactors at a price of up to US$5 billion (HK$39 billion).

Areva refused to comment when contacted about the possible deal.

But other sources with close knowledge of the talks for the two nuclear reactors said the two companies were in "advanced discussions."

The source said there has been "some confusion" in reports China would backtrack on a deal with Westinghouse in December for four nuclear reactors and instead only give two to the US-based company and the other two to Areva. Any deal with Areva will be separate from the Westinghouse deal and will probably take up to four more months to complete, the source said.

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