China to Start Work on Six Inland Nuclear Reactors

All six units are slated to be Westinghouse AP1000s similar to reactors already under construction at the Haiyang coastal site and at Sanmen, which is an inland site.


China To Restart Inland Nuclear Power Program

(NucNet): China is expected restart its nuclear power program in inland areas within the next four years. The statement came from Wang Yiren, vice-director of the state administration of science, technology and industry for national defense, and vice-chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority. He said in an interview with China National Radio that China has already decided where its inland nuclear reactors will be built.

Three inland units have already been given approval. They are;

  • the Taohuajiang nuclear station in Hunan province, southeast China;
  • the Dafan nuclear station in Hubei province, eastern China; and
  • the Pengze nuclear station in Jiangxi province, southeast China.

All three sites reference the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor. Given the financial problems of Toshiba, its Japanese parent, the future of these projects may depend on whether Westinghouse declares bankruptcy which may be pending according to the Reuters wire service. Westinghouse may retreat to being a provider of manufactured components for nuclear reactors, but will step away from its EPC role for future projects.

China halted all its nuclear power construction projects after the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear accident in March 2011, but began construction work on several projects in eastern coastal areas in 2015.

Although the resumption of inland projects has yet to be officially announced, at least 10 provinces have proposed sites, Mr Wang said.

Though not included in his statements, China also faces significant logistical challenges to transport very large components like reactor pressure vessels, steam generators, and turbines to inland plants. Coastal plants take delivery via barges.

WNA reports that the 13th Five-Year Plan formalized in March 2016 included the following nuclear projects and aims:

  • Complete four AP1000 units at Sanmen and Haiyang.
  • Build demonstration Hualong One reactors at Fuqing and Fangchenggang
  • Start building the demonstration CAP1400 reactor at Rongcheng (Shidaowan).
  • Accelerate building Tianwan Phase III (units 5&6).
  • Reach target of 58 GWe nuclear operational by end of 2020, plus 30 GWe under construction then.
  • Accelerate and push for building demonstration and large commercial spent reprocessing plants. (Areva)

Hualong One Reactors to Be Built

Separately, the China Daily reported (long file) that China General Nuclear chairman He Yu said China is expecting to construct four to six Hualong One reactors annually from 2020 to achieve an installed nuclear generating capacity of at least 150 GWe by 2030.

He said the country needs to add at least 10 GWe of nuclear capacity annually to reach CO2 emissions reduction targets.

“Nuclear energy plays an irreplaceable role in China’s energy security, helping to reduce air pollution caused by coal-fired power generation,” he said.

“China’s energy sector has been dominated by coal, accounting for 64 percent of primary energy use, far above the global average of around 30 percent,”

Wang Binghua, chairman of State Power Investment Corp, and Wang Shoujun, president of the State-owned China Nuclear Engineering Group Co, who are also attending the annual session of the CPPCC National Committee, also called for nuclear power plants to be a primary source of energy supply. He is a strong advocate of the Hualong One reactor.

HTGR Will Connect to Grid in 2018 ~ Slated for Export Markets

(WNN) China’s demonstration high-temperature gas-cooled reactor is expected to start supplying electricity to the grid in 2018.  Wang Yiren, deputy director general of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense said in a statement to Chinese state owned television that the reactor in Shandong province will be the world’s first 200 MW nuclear plant to generate electricity.

Profile of China’s Current Work on HTGR Designs

(WNA) According to the World Nuclear Association, China is investing in multiple high temperature gas-cooled reactors.  The reference design is for twin units, each with a single steam generator, will drive a single steam turbine. The engineering of the key structures, systems, and components, while derived in part from the South African PBMR, is, according to WNA, based on Chinese capabilities and includes completely new technical features.

China Huaneng Group (CHNG) is the lead organization in the consortium to build the demonstration Shidaowan HTR-PM with China Nuclear Engineering & Construction Group (CNEC) and Tsinghua University’s INET, which is the R&D leader. Chinergy Co., a joint venture of Tsinghua and CNEC, is the main contractor for the nuclear island.

CNEC is responsible for the HTR technical implementation, and becomes the main investor of HTR commercial promotion at home and abroad.  In July 2016 CNEC signed an agreement with CGN to set up a joint venture led by CNEC to develop HTRs domestically and overseas.  As a result CNEC has signed agreements to develop HTRs in Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

The initial demonstration HTR-PM at Shidaowan, near Weihai city, will pave the way for commercial versions with multiple modules each 2×105 MWe with its own turbine. The main HTR promotion is of the 600 MWe version. WNA notes that that is possible that these commercial HTR plants will have larger turbines.

WNA also reports that in April 2015 CNEC announced that its proposal for two commercial 600 MWe HTRs at Ruijin city in Jiangxi province had passed an initial feasibility review. This HTR-600 is based on HTR-200 by adding modules.

UK considers state backing for nuclear, says report

(WNN) UK government ministers are “wrangling over how to support” new nuclear power plant projects, with some senior members of the Treasury “hostile” to direct state subsidy, according to the Financial Times. Philip Hammond, chancellor of the exchequer, and Greg Clark, business secretary, have both taken part in talks over support for new plants in Anglesey and in Cumbria, the British newspaper reports, citing unnamed sources.

Horizon, a 100% subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd, plans to deploy the UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor at two sites – Wylfa Newydd, which is on the Isle of Anglesey, and Oldbury-on-Severn, in South Gloucestershire. EDF Energy and its partner China General Nuclear (CGN) plan to build two European Pressurised Water reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

NuGen, the UK joint venture between Japan’s Toshiba and France’s Engie, plans to build a nuclear power plant of up to 3.8 GWe gross capacity at Moorside, in West Cumbria using AP1000 nuclear reactor technology provided by Westinghouse Electric Company, a group company of Toshiba. That project is at risk due to the financial collapse of Toshiba which has a planned 60% equity stake in the Moorside project.

The question of how to support UK nuclear power “has been given new urgency by the financial crisis at Toshiba,” the Financial Times said.

Another person involved in the process told the newspaper state support would have to be “financially engineered” in a way that avoided adding to public debt. This could still allow the government to buy minority stakes in the projects, or to provide credit guarantees, the newspaper said.

Westinghouse CEO Works to Keep India Nuclear Project Alive

(Reuters) A deal to build six Westinghouse nuclear reactors in India is still alive, but to be viable must be protected from a financial crisis at the U.S. reactor maker and its Japanese parent Toshiba Corp.

Westinghouse would only provide reactors for the six AP1000 units to be built in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. It would not carry out civil engineering work to build the entire project – an approach that led to cost overruns at its projects in the United States.

Despite the financial crisis, RTeuters reports Westinghouse CEO Jose Gutierrez flew in to India last week for talks with state-run National Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL) and the Department of Atomic Energy that reports to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Indian engineering group Larsen & Toubro, a potential partner that has signed a memorandum of understanding with Westinghouse to supply nuclear plant elements and do civil works, still views the India project as viable.

“As long as the guarantees are in place, I see no reason why this won’t go ahead,” Shailendra Roy, head of L&T’s power business, told Reuters, without elaborating on the nature of any such guarantees.

Reuters reports there are grounds for skepticism according to some nuclear industry experts and sources in India.

“I doubt that NPCIL will finalize a deal until there is clarity about Toshiba’s exit, and who the new project manager would be,” said Rakesh Sood, a former disarmament negotiator and now a distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.

Czechs look to start building new nuclear reactor in 2025

(Associated Press) Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says the country could start building a new nuclear reactor as soon as 2025.

Unlike some other European countries, the Czech Republic relies heavily on nuclear energy and Sobotka’s government in 2015 approved a long-term plan to increase nuclear power production.

As part of the plan, the government wants to build at least one more reactor at the Dukovany plant, and later possibly another at the Temelin plant.

Financing of the project is yet to be decided. Major players from the United States, Russia, Japan, France, China and South Korea are expected to bid for the lucrative Dukovany nuclear contract, worth over $4 billion.  The government has retreated from past efforts to pursue nuclear energy over disputes concerning government rate guarantees for the units.

Sobotka said Monday that a deal to build it could be signed in 2022. The reactor could become operational around 2035.

Eskom Says RFP For New Nuclear To Be Posted By Mid-2017

(NucNet): State-owned utility Eskom’s target is to publish the request for proposals, or RFP, for new nuclear power reactors in South Africa by mid-2017, with evaluation of proposals by the end of 2017, the company’s chief nuclear officer David Nicholls said in an interview published on the Eskom website.

Eskom will then negotiate with the vendors, one at a time, to choose a preferred vendor, and then move into discussions about localization, Mr Nicholls said.  Development of local manufacturing of components for the reactors is considered a mainstay of any successful bid.

According to Eskom, nuclear is the only credible energy option for new baseload generation. There are four options: coal, gas, hydro and nuclear, Mr Nicholls said.

South Africa has no gas and any gas it imports is going to be at a cost so the economic issues are problematic. There are no significant new hydro opportunities, which leaves coal and nuclear.

“Our view is that coal is going to be increasingly challenged by environmental requirements, while nuclear has an exceptionally good track record locally and internationally on both safety and economic grounds,” Mr Nicholls said.

In December 2016 Eskom issued an initial request for information (RFI) for new reactors. The companies that responded included “major nuclear vendors” from China (SNPTC), France (EDF), Russia (Rusatom Overseas) and South Korea (Kepco).

The project became embroiled in controversy in 2015 when President Zuma announced the entire project would be financed and built by Rosatom. Since then the government has struggled to convince other vendors the procurement process is open to competition.

The government has said it wants to generate 9,600 MW of energy from as many as eight reactors that should begin operating from 2023 and be completed by 2029, with total price estimates ranging from $37bn (€34.8bn) to $100bn (€94bn).

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