China steps up efforts to export nuclear reactors

Three moves this week by China’s state owned nuclear companies all demonstrated that China intends to capitalize on a growing global interest in nuclear power:

* State Nuclear Power Technology Corp (SNPTC) formed a joint venture with Westinghouse, the U.S. nuclear group owned by Japan’s Toshiba, to help sell Westinghouse-based nuclear reactors globally, Westinghouse said in a press release.

* China Guangdong Nuclear Corp (GGN), one of the country’s largest nuclear companies, changed its name to China General Nuclear Corp. to broaden its brand image outside of China and its home base of Guangdong, news agency Xinhua reported via China Daily.

* CGN, SNPTC and China National Nuclear Corp. pitched nuclear power to South Africa at an energy exhibition near Johannesburg.

The Beijing-based Westinghouse joint venture, called SNPTC-WEC Nuclear Power Technical Services, extends a partnership in which Westinghouse and SNPTC are building four nuclear reactors in China – the first four in the world for Westinghouse’s “passively cooled” AP-1000 reactor – and in which Westinghouse has transferred technology to China.

The new company aims to build up the supply chain of AP1000 nuclear plant equipment by qualifying suppliers who would sell both within China and globally.

China has already agreed to build six nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia as part of the country’s plan to derive about a sixth of its power from nuclear by 2032.

Russia, Japan, South Korea and other countries are also competing to build new nuclear reactors.

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