Tag Archives: CNNC

Nuclear Industry: France, Russia and China

Olkiluoto-3 under construction in 2009. It is scheduled to start electricity production in 2018, a delay of nine years. image from wikipedia

[Regarding the French nuclear company Areva] its newest product, the expensive European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), has encountered more than the teething problems common to all big industrial projects. A plant in Finland is almost ten years behind schedule and almost three times over budget: Areva has had to write off billions as a result….Two reactors in China and the only new-build in France, at Flamanville, are also running late. EDF played an important role in managing the Chinese and French projects.

Besides criticism for slack project management, Areva and EDF (Electricite de France) have been questioned over technical standards. The steel in the main reactor vessel at Flamanville is faulty, the Nuclear Safety Authority said in April 2015. EDF disputes the finding and, with Areva, has started new tests. The news added to growing disenchantment in Britain with an agreement, not yet firm, that expensively entrusts the construction of a power station incorporating two Areva EPRs to a consortium led by EDF.  It seems unlikely that Areva will find many more foreign takers for its existing reactor…

[S]ome of Areva’s rivals are racing ahead. Rosatom, a Russian nuclear firm, has built up a fat order-book. Keen pricing, generous financing and relaxed technology transfer help, though Western sanctions do not. China’s two reactor-builders, CNNC and CGN, are peddling their own new design, Hualong One; in February CNNC signed a preliminary agreement to supply a reactor to Argentina.

Areva has little reason to hope for a surge of new orders at home. France’s 58 reactors are elderly but EDF, which operates them, plans to revamp rather than replace them…A new law set to come into force this summer, pledging somehow to cut France’s dependence on nuclear power from 75% to 50% of its electricity needs by 2025, will make Areva’s prospects even bleaker.

Excerpts from France’s nuclear industry: Arevaderci, Economist, May 23, 2015, at 53.

How China Plans to Export Nuclear Reactors

Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant, located in Zhejiang China. image from wikipedia

China Power Investment Corporation and State Nuclear Power Technology Corp have officially announced their merger, as Beijing moves to consolidate its nuclear power sector, aiming eventually to export reactors.  China Power producer currently controls about a tenth of China’s nuclear power market, while the State Nuclear was formed in 2007 to handle nuclear technology transferred from U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric Co.

The new company, State Power Investment Corporation, is expected to own assets over 700 billion yuan ($112.94 billion) and to post revenue of over 200 billion yuan annually, state news agency Xinhua said, citing Wang Binghua, the chairman and party secretary of State Power Investment Corporation.

China National Nuclear Power Corp (CNNC) said …that the merger to form State Power Investment Corporation will increase competition between China’s three major nuclear corporations in both domestic and international construction of nuclear infrastructure. The other major player in this sector is China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN).China is contemplating a merger between CNNC and CGN which were set up as rivals to compete for projects at home and overseas but, under government prompting, have cooperated on a single reactor brand, Hualong 1, with the intention of eventually marketing it abroad.

Beijing said in January it would aid the overseas expansion of Chinese firms, in particular in the rail and nuclear power sectors, raising hackles with some trading partners who fear it signals another wave of subsidized Chinese exports.

China nuclear power firms merge to fuel global clout, Reuters, May 30, 2015