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China eyes new project after Hinkley

Hits:  UpdateTime:2016-09-30 16:00:10

China will submit its indigenous nuclear technology to the United Kingdom

government’s rigorous assessment program with a view to getting approval in

five years — and to use it to build a power station at Bradwell, on the English

east coast.

The announcement by China General Nuclear Corp Chairman He Yu was made on


It came just after CGN, the French utility EDF and the UK government signed a final

agreement on another project that is earlier in the pipeline, the UK’s 18 billion

pound ($23.4 billion) Hinkley Point power plant, giving it the definitive green light.

CGN will finance one-third of that investment.

The Hinkley Point project is seen as a precursor for plans to introduce Chinese

nuclear technology.

If Chinese technology passes GDA assessment, the Bradwell plant could be the

first nuclear project in a developed market to use a Chinese design

As a part of the contracts signed on Thursday, CGN and EDF would also jointly

invest in Sizewell and Bradwell, proposed UK nuclear projects. CGN would be the

majority shareholder in Bradwell, which plans to use China’s third generation

nuclear technology Hualong One.

Being the majority investor in Bradwell, with a 66.5 percent share, means CGN will

bear responsibility for the project and its financial returns will be higher, He said.

The UK’s General Design Assessment, which determines if a new nuclear technology

can be used in the UK, is known to be the world’s most rigorous. Currently only

France’s European Pressurized Reactor design has GDA approval. The US’

AP1000 technology is still pending GDA approval. France’s EPR model is being

used for Hinkley Point.

Once Hualong One passes GDA, it will boost more countries’ confidence and

push forward Hualong One’s global market development,” He said.

Bradwell’s technology will be modeled on Hualong One technology deployed

at Guangxi Fangchenggang Phase II power station.

CGN established a GDA project department in February 2015 to work on the

regulatory process; technical preparation for the GDA assessment process was

completed by this July.

The new UK government, led by Prime Minister Theresa May, took all sides by

surprise in July when she said she needed more time to assess the project.

Approval came two weeks ago, with the extra condition that Hinkley and other

foreign-funded nuclear plants cannot change hands without the government’s


An EDF board meeting on Sept 27 confirmed that EDF is happy with the extra


Hinkley will begin construction in 2019 with a view to start operating in 2025. It

will satisfy 7 percent of the UK’s energy needs.

Lady Barbara Judge, former chairwoman of UK Atomic Energy Authority, said

China has good technical nuclear capabilities. “I have great respect for the

nuclear projects all over China,” she said.

Andrew Shepherd, senior energy and infrastructure analyst at BMI Research, said

“rigorous and robust assessment of China’s own domestically designed reactor

by UK regulators would certainly give China’s nuclear export plans a significant boost.”

He said CGN will increase efforts to communicate with greater emphasis on

“transparency” with the UK public about its technology in order to build trust.

He said CGN is currently in advanced stages of preparing nuclear investments

in Romania. Other areas being considered include the Czech Republic, Southeast

Asian countries, South Africa, and Turkey.

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