Nuke reactor gets foreign contract

Updated: 2013-04-20 01:01

By WEI TIAN (China Daily)

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Construction to begin after domestic ACP1000 work starts this year

China has acquired the first export contract for a self-developed advanced nuclear reactor, and more global cooperation is under way, said a senior executive of China National Nuclear Corp.

ACP1000, a third-generation nuclear reactor developed independently by CNNC, has secured its first foreign contract, the company said on Friday.

The reactor passed a review by an expert panel in Beijing on Friday, and construction will begin at the foreign site, after a domestic ACP1000 reactor work begins at the end of this year.

"We're very confident about the prospects for our technology exports, due to its higher safety level and lower costs," Lyu Huaxiang, CNNC vice-president, told China Daily on Friday.

Sun Qin, chairman of CNNC, said in March the first domestic construction site for the ACP1000 has been finalized at Fuqing in Fujian province.

He also revealed that the technology was ready for export to Asian and South American countries.

According to Lyu, a delegation of nuclear power officials from Argentina will meet CNNC bosses on Saturday for negotiations on potential cooperation.

He said Argentina might begin international bidding for its nuclear reactor within this year if its investigation of the ACP1000 goes well.

"Our domestic plant will be a reference for foreign customers," Lyu said.

The ACP1000 reactor is equipped with an extra safety mechanism in case of an accident similar to that in Japan in 2011, and has self-developed fuel technology.

Meanwhile, the contract cost will be 10 percent lower than current third-generation nuclear reactors, Lyu said.

The first ACP1000 unit to be constructed will have more than 85 percent of its equipment manufactured domestically, and the price can be reduced further if the localization rate improves in the future.

Lyu said CNNC is also looking to the European and North American markets, but exports to these regions first have to obtain approval from local authorities.

"We have submitted an application to the International Atomic Energy Association for a review of the ACP1000, which will help us get the permits to export to Europe and North America," he said.

However, he said, the process will not be easy, and the IAEA's review is unlikely be completed within a year.

The ACP1000 is not the only third-generation nuclear reactor to be developed by a Chinese company. Others include the CAP 1400 developed by the State Nuclear Power Technology Co on the basis of Westinghouse Co's AP1000.

"But the ACP1000 is the only one with entirely independent intellectual property rights, and is the only one able to be independently exported," Lyu said, explaining others' exports of similar reactors are tied to the foreign owner of the technology.