China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) said that its plan to merge two versions of China’s leading reactor designs has been approved by nuclear experts, over a competing proposal by its partner China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN), Bloomberg reported on 3 August. Nuclear experts invited by Hualong International Nuclear Power Technology Co, a 50-50 joint venture between the two companies, voted 14 to three in favour of CNNC’s plan, with three experts staying neutral.

China last year asked its two primary nuclear power operators to merge their competing designs for a domestically designed third-generation reactor, called the Hualong One. The companies jointly formed Hualong International in March to develop and export the home-grown design overseas.

The panel’s ruling showed that “integration of Hualong One technology has achieved substantial progress and laid a good foundation for exporting the technology to overseas markets,” CNNC Chairman Sun Qin said in the statement after the vote.

Representatives from the National Development and Reform Commission, National Energy Administration, National Nuclear Safety Administration and State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence witnessed and verified the voting process, CNNC said. Shenzhen-based CGN will not compete with CNNC for customers overseas, with CGN focusing on Europe and CNNC on regions such as South America, spokesman Huang Xiaofei said in May.

China has approved construction of at least six Hualong One reactors in China, according to CGN. The company may also build a Hualong One reactor at Bradwell in southern England as part of an agreement signed during President Xi Jinping’s visit in October.