South China Morning Post reports that Beijing-based State Nuclear plans to start construction of the first CAP1400 demonstration reactor in Shidaowan, Shandong province, this year and commission it in late 2018, according to Xinhua.
The schedule is about a year behind the original target as Beijing suspended new projects for about 18 months to review the safety of all nuclear power projects after Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011.
The two other state-owned nuclear power plant developers, China National Nuclear and China General Nuclear Power, have also been looking for opportunities to expand abroad, even though they have the world’s biggest nuclear power expansion programme to complete.
After raising industry safety standards, Beijing set a target for the country’s installed nuclear generating capacity of 58GW by 2020, up from 12.57GW now, although insiders had believed the industry was capable of generating 70 to 80GW.
The two firms announced a plan last year to take a combined 30 to 40 per cent stake in a consortium led by Electricite de France to build French-designed third-generation EPR reactors in southwest England. It is China’s first nuclear project in a developed country, although it has helped build reactors in Pakistan.
Tang Chi-chung, director of the nuclear division at Hong Kong’s CLP, which has a 25 per cent stake in Guangdong’s Daya Bay nuclear plant, said the mainland industry faced the question of whether it had sufficient human and other resources to tackle overseas as well as domestic projects.
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