Westinghouse switches on to big potential in China
US-based Westinghouse Electric Co expects to begin fuel loading at the world’s first AP1000 nuclear plant in November, as the facility in Sanmen, Zhejiang province, edges closer to becoming operational early next year, the company’s executives said on Wednesday.
Despite being several years behind schedule, Gavin Liu, president in Asia for Westinghouse, said the move will pay the way for more opportunities in a booming nuclear market with more than 100 new nuclear power plants planned in coming decades.
“We plan for further expansion and investment here, as wewill play a strong role in the market,” he told China Daily during a four-day international nuclear event in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.
He said thatAsia accounts for less than 25 percent of the company’s overall business, but the figure is expected to rise to 35 percent to40percent in thenext fiveto10years, drivenbygrowth in countries such asChina.
Prior to the fuel loading, the company has already completed cold hydro testing at the plant in Sanmen, and the hot functional test will be held in several days.
Liu said Westinghouse’s investment will cover a wide range of businesses, including new nuclear projects, innovation, maintenance service, fuel supply and decommissioning.
The AP1000, a pressurized water reactor, is the latest technology that the Pennsylvanianuclear giant is pushing worldwide. It has eight under construction, four of which are in China, and the others in the United States.
China, the world’s largest market for nuclear power plants under construction, is planning to build more than 100 new nuclear reactors. Not all of them will go toWestinghouse, experts said, but that number means any nuclear company in the world would want a piece of the pie.
“We will leave that (the number of AP1000s) to the Chinese government and our customers, but we are very confident that the role of AP1000 in the future expansion of nuclear energy is wellestablished,” said Jeffrey Benjamin, senior vice-president of new plants and major projects atWestinghouse.
When asked about competition with the CAP1400, a scaled-up version of the AP1000 from State Nuclear Power Technology Corp, its longstanding partner in China, he said: “I don’t necessarily see it as a head-to-head competition. There are certain markets that would require good applications like that, and I think it is a much larger reactor design.”
I don’t necessarily see it as a headto-head competition.”