China re-starts its nuclear reactor construction program

The Bloomberg wire service reports that China has approved start of construction of two new nuclear power plants, the first such approvals since the Fukushima crisis in Japan in 2011. The China State Council inked the go-ahead decision on Feb 17 for two new reactors to be built by China General Nuclear Power at the utility’s Hongyanhe plant. The reactors will be 1400 MW PWRs.

The China Nuclear Energy Association (CNEA) said that the two units, to be named Hongyanhe-5 and Hongyanhe-6, were expected to be of the CAP-1400 Generation III domestic design, which is based on the Westinghouse AP1000 design.

China has plans to increase its nuclear power fleet to 58 GWe, but these plans have been delayed while the government reviewed safety and design issues. The country has 26 reactors under construction. Four of them are Westinghouse AP1000s which have experienced delays due to problems with the original equipment manufacturer of the reactors’ cooling pumps.

Bloomberg also reported that next on the list are two new reactors in Fujian province. A source at the National Development & Reform Commission told the wire service that this year China may approve as many as eight new construction starts for new reactors. CNEA said a total of 14 GW of nuclear power generation is expected to become operational in 2015 and 2016.

HTGR to connect to the grid in 2017

Arnaud Lefevre-Baril, CEO at Dynatom International GmbH, reports that Chinese language state-owned media have published information that the world’s first 200 MW high temperature gas cooled reactor nuclear power plant, located at Rongcheng, Shandong province is expected to be connected to the grid in November 2017. It is one of 16 projects supported by the National Science & Technology Council. According to the media report, the design may be slated for export at a future time.

China General Nuclear to explore partnership with SNC Lavalin in Romania

A Chinese delegation led by China General Nuclear has re-started negotiations with Romania to discuss possible investment in the Cernavoda power plant which is the site of two Candu-6 700 MW units. Representatives from SNC Lavalin, which now owns the reactor division of AECL, joined the Chinese team. A feasibility study for the project estimated the cost of Units 3 & 4 as similar Candu-6 units at 6.45 billion euros ($7 billion US).

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