China develops role as nuclear exporter

Industry observers claim Beijing is developing a domestic nuclear market and is aiming to be a global nuclear technology exporter.

China develops role as nuclear exporter

World Bulletin / News Desk

China, one of the world's fastest-growing economies, is developing a domestic nuclear market and is going to be a global nuclear technology exporter.

This is the view of one expert – Ahmet Goncu, an associate professor at China's Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University – who says even the Fukushima disaster of 2011 has not dented Beijing’s nuclear ambitions.

“After the earthquake in Japan, China reconsidered the safety of its nuclear power plants. However, the construction of new nuclear reactors was not stopped,” he says.

“China is trying to reduce the use of coal for electricity production and use natural gas and nuclear energy as clean energy sources.”

Therefore, in line with the domestic expansion of nuclear plants, China is becoming one of the major exporters of civilian nuclear technology, Goncu added.

Beijing has a 17-gigawatt capacity active nuclear power and 30 gigawatts of capacity under construction, according to France-based research center Enerdata.

China has 21 nuclear reactors with another 28 reactors under construction.

Currently, the biggest nuclear power plant in China is the 4,038-megawatt Qinshan facility, followed by the 3,914-megawatt Ling Ao plant. These are followed by Hongyanhe with a 2,122 megawatt capacity, according to Enerdata.

China has a target of producing 58 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2020, with additional planned reactors.

According to Enerdata estimates, this will increase the share of nuclear power in the Chinese energy mix from two percent to six percent.

China signed a deal with Argentina in early September to undertake a nuclear power project, the first of its kind overseas.

The project will see a fourth nuclear power plant constructed in the Latin American country.

Beijing has another deal, signed with the U.K. during a visit by Chinese premier Li Keqiang in June. The deal will allow Chinese firms to own and operate a Chinese-designed nuclear power station.

These international nuclear deals are particularly important for China since it has huge market potential in exporting nuclear technology to other countries, additional to its domestic market, Goncu claims.

Last Mod: 16 Eylül 2014, 11:06
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