Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Russia to build two new reactors in China

And also build a uranium enrichment plant to fuel them

China and Russia signed a multi-billion dollar deal this week for nuclear reactors and a uranium enrichment plant all to be built by the Russians at Chinese sites. The deal comes just two weeks before French President Nicolas Sarkozy is scheduled to go to China on Nov 25th during which time he's expected to sign a deal for two AREVA EPR reactors to be built there.

Russian nuclear builder Atomstroyexport signed a deal with China's Jiangsu Nuclear Power this week to build two reactors and double capacity at the utility's Tianwan power plant, Atomstroyexport said in a statement to Bloomberg wire service. Atomstroyexport completed the building of two units this year at the Tianwan plant under a 1997 contract with Jiangsu Nuclear.

Associated Press reported that the agreement for the nuclear reactors at Tianwan is preliminary and does not set a time frame or price for the reactors, but it is potentially worth over $5 billion dollars.

Each Russian nuclear reactor is worth about $2 billion and takes about five years to build, but China could get them for less because Russia has already built two reactors there. The first 1,000 MWe reactor began commercial operation in May and the second in July of this year.

Russia's Techsnabexport atomic fuel firm also agreed to work with China on expanding uranium enrichment by helping to build a fourth line of gas-fired centrifuges. China already operates two uranium enrichment plants of Russian design.

The new line will have a annual capacity of 500,000 separative work units, or SWU, a Tenex spokesman said. With all the reactors China is building and plans to build, they're going to need more nuclear fuel. The question is whether the demise of India's 1-2-3 agreement with the U.S. will stop it from buying uranium from Australia opening that supply line to China. India was hoping a nuclear energy deal with the U.S. would drive an opening for it with the Nuclear Suppliers Group. That's unlikely to happen now. India's loss is likely China's gain.

Last year China ordered four Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactors which vindicated Toshiba's record setting purchase price for the American firm.

Nuclear energy and power generation provide "great potential'' for cooperation with Russia, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said during the joint economic forum held in Moscow.

No kidding.

1 comment:

Alexandra Prokopenko said...

China as a huge and developing economy will need more and more nuclear power in future - so it's not surprising China might buy reactors from practictically anywhere in the world. Russian reactors at present are the best choise in point of balance between quality, security and price. Moreover, China has a long tradition of cooperation with Russia. So why not?