China may start exporting AP1400 nuclear reactors this year and use cheap credit to lure customers

Officials behind China’s self-developed nuclear reactor, known as the CAP1400, expect to sign its first overseas orders for the technology this year, most likely from South America or Asia.

Sun Qin, the chairman of China National Nuclear Corp told China Daily in an exclusive interview, that the deals could seal should the construction of a CAP1400 reactor in China begin by the end of this year, after approval from the State Council.

The Chinese technology is attractive because of the “favorable and unconditional” credit conditions offered to other nations.

The construction site of the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province. China’s nuclear plant construction, after a 20-month halt due to the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in Japan, gradually resumed by the second half of last year. Geng Yuhe / For China Daily

The CAP1400 reactor is based on Toshiba Corp’s Westinghouse AP1000 design. China was the first country to start construction of the so-called third generation reactor, and later increased the power it can produce from 1,000 megawatts to 1,400 megawatts with an eye toward exports.

China may account for more than half of the nuclear capacity built between 2010 and 2020 worldwide

Sun also disclosed that China has been maintaining its pace of research into fourth-generation nuclear reactor technology.

The country has two experimental 4G nuclear reactor sites, both moving from the experimental phase to the model phase. The final stage in a development is the commercial phase.

“The international community has set a target that by 2030 to 2035, commercial 4G reactor technology should be available.

“We will be ready to reach the commercial phase by 2030, which is the same, or a little earlier than the international pace,” Sun said.

Construction of the high temperature pebble bed project at Shidao Bay in the coastal city of Rongcheng in east China’s Shandong Province began Dec, 2012, Xinhua quoted Huaneng Shandong Shidao Bay Nuclear Power Co. Ltd. (HSNPC), the builder and operator of the plant, as saying. With a designed capacity of 200 megawatts and ‘the characteristics of fourth-generation nuclear energy systems,’ the high-temperature gas-cooled reactor will start generating power by the end of 2017, the HSNPC said.

China is also working on fast neutron breeder reactors and thorium molten salt reactors.

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