China seeks UK nod for nu­clear tech

Power plant de­sign would get boost if it passes strin­gent ap­proval process

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHRIS PETER­SON and CECILY LIU in Lon­don

China will sub­mit its in­dige­nous nu­clear tech­nol­ogy to the UK govern­ment’s rig­or­ous Gen­eral De­sign As­sess­ment with a view to get­ting ap­proval in five years — and to use it to build a power sta­tion at Brad­well, on the east coast of Eng­land.

The an­nounce­ment by China Gen­eral Nu­clear Corp Chair­man He Yu was made on Thurs­day.

It came just af­ter CGN, the French util­ity EDF and the UK govern­ment signed a fi­nal agree­ment on the UK’s 18 bil­lion pound ($23.4 bil­lion) Hink­ley Point power plant, giv­ing it the de­fin­i­tive green light. CGN will fi­nance one-third of that in­vest­ment.

The Hink­ley Point project is seen as a gate­way for plans to in­tro­duce Chi­nese nu­clear tech­nol­ogy.

If com­pleted on time, the planned Brad­well plant would be the first nu­clear project in a de­vel­oped mar­ket to use a Chi­nese de­sign.

Liu Xiaom­ing, China’s am­bas­sador to the UK, said Hink­ley Point is a flag­ship project for China-UK col­lab­o­ra­tion, and is a “golden fruit” to con­firm China and the UK’s golden era of co­op­er­a­tion.

“We are hope­ful China’s own tech­nol­ogy, Hua­long One, will pass GDA. That will sig­nify China’s nu­clear power re­ally has gone global.”

As part of the con­tracts signed on Thurs­day, CGN and EDF would also jointly in­vest in the Sizewell and Brad­well pro­posed UK nu­clear projects. CGN would be the ma­jor­ity share­holder in Brad­well, which plans to use China’s third gen­er­a­tion nu­clear tech­nol­ogy Hua­long One.

Be­ing the ma­jor­ity in­vestor in Brad­well, with a 66.5 per­cent share, means CGN will bear re­spon­si­bil­ity for the project, and its fi­nan­cial re­turns will be higher, He said.

Greg Clark, sec­re­tary of state for busi­ness, en­ergy and in­dus­trial strat­egy, said in a brief state­ment,

“Sign­ing the Con­tract for Dif­fer­ence for Hink­ley Point C is a cru­cial mo­ment in the UK’s first new nu­clear power sta­tion for a gen­er­a­tion and fol­lows new mea­sures put in place by govern­ment to strengthen se­cu­rity and own­er­ship.

“Bri­tain needs to upgrade its sup­plies of en­ergy, and we have al­ways been clear that nu­clear power sta­tions like Hink­ley play an im­por­tant part in en­sur­ing our future low-car­bon en­ergy se­cu­rity.”

The UK’s Gen­eral De­sign As­sess­ment, which de­ter­mines if a new nu­clear tech­nol­ogy can be used in Bri­tain, is known to be the world’s most rig­or­ous. Cur­rently, only France’s Euro­pean Pres­sur­ized Re­ac­tor de­sign has GDA ap­proval. The US’ AP1000 tech­nol­ogy is still pend­ing GDA ap­proval. France’s EPR model is be­ing used for Hink­ley Point.

“Once Hua­long One passes GDA, it will boost more coun­tries’ con­fi­dence and push for­ward Hua­long One’s global mar­ket de­vel­op­ment,” He said.

Brad­well’s tech­nol­ogy will be modeled on that of Hua­long One de­ployed at the Guangxi Fangcheng­gang Phase II power sta­tion.

CGN es­tab­lished a GDA project depart­ment in Fe­bru­ary last year to work on the reg­u­la­tory process. Tech­ni­cal prepa­ra­tion for the GDA as­sess­ment process was com­pleted by July this year.

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