Projects remain on target30 June 1999
Despite last year’s economic downturn throughout Asia, there were no signs that nuclear power was no longer favoured in China or Japan. The present projects are progressing as planned and for China, the Western vendors show no sign of holding back their investments.
China has indicated that it would slow down its nuclear construction programme, although this is only seen as a temporary setback as the country has such huge energy needs. For the next three years, however, China will be upgrading its power grid and eliminating many small thermal power plants that are inefficient and polluting. However, the authorities have expressed their intention to continue to work with foreign nuclear suppliers, demanding further “localisation” in order that the domestic industry becomes more self-reliant.
This slowdown is certainly disappointing to US vendors as they have only recently been allowed by their government to sell civil nuclear plant. However, they will continue to consolidate their efforts in the market. This includes Westinghouse’s work with Chinese organisations to develop a Chinese version of their advanced AP system with passive features; ABB CENP is working with other companies, notably Korea Electric Power Co, to participate in Chinese projects while GE and Japanese BWR suppliers will not be left behind.
• Qinshan Phase III
Construction of the two 728 MWe CANDU© pressurised heavy water nuclear power reactors at the Qinshan site in Haiyan County is on schedule. The planned in-service date for unit 1 is February 2003, with unit 2 following in November 2003. This project is on a more streamlined schedule than any other previous CANDU project: 72 months from contract effective date to in-service.
Actual construction of unit 1 will be 55 months – the fastest for any CANDU unit according to the reactor supplier, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL). This is made possible by using advanced engineering tools such as 3-D CADD systems, integrated project system databases, and open-top construction techniques.
• Ling Ao project
According to Framatome, work on the Ling Ao nuclear power project in the Guangdong Province, basically a duplicate of the Daya Bay units, remains on schedule. The civil works of the nuclear and conventional islands, built by Chinese companies under the direct responsibility of the owner, are in the course of being completed. The past year was marked by the peak in equipment ordering and engineering activities. More than 5000 t of equipment have already been manufactured, with the required nuclear quality.
To strengthen the French input, Framatome, Electricité de France and Alstom have already presented the Chinese authorities with an offer to build six more nuclear units in the context of the so-called GNP3 programme. For its part, Framatome has proposed forming a partnership (in a form equivalent to that of a joint stock company) with Dongfang Electric Corp headquartered at Chengdu in Sichuan Province, a company with which Framatome is already co-operating for the Ling Ao project. Framatome hopes that this programme could be launched in 2000-2001.
With a mature nuclear industry, Japan is now concentrating more on plant life extension than new build. Nevertheless, plans to build several more nuclear plants are not being curtailed any further.
• Higashidori ABWR
In 1991, the Higashidori site, owned jointly by Tohoku Electric and Tokyo Electric, was an untouched stretch of coastline and there were no firm plans to make use of it. In December 1998, Tohoku Electric received a construction permit for unit 1, a 1000 MWe BWR. This year the utility announced that the second unit would be a 1385 MWe ABWR; Tokyo Electric’s units 1 and 2 will also be 1385 MWe ABWRs. The Tohoku Electric units will go into commercial operation in July 2005 and in 2011, respectively, and both TEPCO units will become operational in 2010.
• Oma – an
ABWR for an ATR Following the decision to abandon the development of the Advanced Thermal Reactor (ATR – a heavy water moderated, light water cooled BWR based on PNC’s Fugen design), the Electric Power Development Corporation (EPDC) is planning to build an ABWR.
In 1991, the plan was to build a 600 MWe ATR at a site at the northern tip of the Oma peninsula, but the company was embroiled in land purchase problems and confrontations with the fishing co-operatives. By the time these problems had been solved, the ATR was no longer considered an economic proposition and its development was terminated by the Atomic Energy Commission in August 1995. The plan for Oma was then changed to a 1383 MWe ABWR with a 100% MOX core thus retaining the plutonium burning intent of the ATR. Following the change of plan, further negotiations had to be made with the fishermen’s unions but these have been successfully concluded and EPDC will apply to the Electric Power Development Coordination Council for approval in July this year. The plant will then become an official construction project. Construction should start in March 2002 with commercial operation in July 2007. There have been suggestions that EPDC may eventually build a second unit at Oma.