China ponders ABWR

21 June 2005

The deputy director of the Preparatory Office of the State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation of China said in a speech on 21 June that China would likely buy an ABWR from General Electric. "It is quite normal to use one or two technologies," Xu Lianyi said.

The basis for China's own programme to date has been the 300MWe PWR loop as used at Qinshan I and II. Other designs have been built by AECL, Atomstoyexport and Framatome and China has also developed a high-temperature reactor using the pebble bed concept for future deployment.

During his speech at the 2005 China Power and Alternative Energy Summit Xu said there was a risk in only adopting one nuclear standard – pressurised water reactors – in China. The risk would be that if a reactor were found to have a design error, then every reactor with that design would have to be retrofitted. "If we only use one technology we might have a problem," he said.

Xu said that China was looking at GE's ABWR as an option for the future. When asked during the question-and-answer session following his speech how soon China might buy the ABWR, Xu dodged the question and instead talked about how busy China was going to be putting online an average of three reactors annually and how the country looked forward to working with its international partners.

"We're very happy to hear it," Rudolph Villa, GE general manager of nuclear energy Asia, said during an interview after Xu's speech. "We have been talking to the government and utilities about the ABWR."

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