CNEC to bring nu­clear power to Saudi Ara­bia

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By LYUCHANG and HUMEIDONG in Fuzhou

Chi­naNu­clear En­gi­neer­ing Group Corp signed an agree­ment with Saudi Ara­bia on Tues­day to de­velop its home­grown fourth-gen­er­a­tion nu­clear tech­nol­ogy in the oil­richMid­dle East coun­try.

Gu Jun, pres­i­dent and gen­eral man­ager of CNEC, said the agree­ment was a ma­jor step to­ward the ex­port of high-tem­per­a­ture gas-cooled re­ac­tors, an in­dige­nous nu­clear tech­nol­ogy jointly de­vel­oped by CNEC and Ts­inghua Univer­sity.

He made the re­marks dur­ing a cer­e­mony in Bei­jing held by the Fuzhou New Eco­nomic Area, in which theChi­nese com­pany plans to in­vest nearly 16.3 bil­lion yuan ($2.48 bil­lion) to build a nu­clear man­u­fac­tur­ing equip­ment in­dus­trial clus­ter and a pro­duc­tion base for nu­clear graphite, a key ma­te­rial used in high-tem­per­a­ture gas-cooled re­ac­tors.

“The tim­ing is right for the ex­port of such a type of nu­clear re­ac­tor,” CNEC said in a state­ment.

About 95 per­cent of the high-tem­per­a­ture re­ac­tor, which uses a graphite-mod­er­ated core with a ura­nium fuel cy­cle to gen­er­ate heat with less ra­dioac­tive ef­fect and higher ef­fi­ciency, can be man­u­fac­tured do­mes­ti­cally, apart from the nu­clear graphite, which re­lies largely on im­ports.

Ex­perts said de­spite Saudi Ara­bia be­ing a fos­sil-fuel rich coun­try, the coun­try still needs to meet de­mand from grow­ing en­ergy con­sump­tion.

“Nu­clear

power

plants with a de­sign life of more than 40 years can­not only pro­vide en­ergy se­cu­rity but also have the po­ten­tial to re­solve grow­ing emis­sions con­cerns in theMid­dle East,” said Lin Bo­qiang, di­rec­tor of the China Cen­ter for En­ergy Eco­nom­ics Re­search at Xi­a­men Univer­sity.

Saudi Ara­bia hopes to build 16 re­ac­tors by 2032 to meet its grow­ing en­ergy de­mand, in­volv­ing a to­tal in­vest­ment of more than $80 bil­lion. Its first re­ac­tor is likely to go on line in 2022, ear­lier re­ports said.

CNEC said it is also tar­get­ing other for­eign mar­kets in­clud­ing South Africa and the United Arab Emi­rates.

It said that the agree­ment with Saudi Ara­bia will bring other pos­si­bil­i­ties for nu­clear co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and other part­ners along the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, which in­cludes more than 60 economies along the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road.

Con­tact the writ­ers at lvchang@chi­nadaily.com.cn and humeidong@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

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