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April 20, 2012

China talks with Turkey about $20 billion nuclear project

1. The Turkish government recently signed a $20 billion project with Russia to build nuclear power facilities in Akkuyu, Turkey. Now the Turkish government has set its sights on constructing a nuclear plant in Sinop, Turkey. The Financial Times recently reported that China is the primary contender for this contract due to its ability to secure financing without requiring guarantees from the Turkish government. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited China last week, confirming reports of the deal when Energy Minister Tanir Yildiz held talks with Chinese authorities. At these meetings, Chinese Energy authority Liu Tienan pledged full financial guarantees for the $20 billion project.

Not just financial guarantees - but half the price

Starting from French reactors imported in the 1980s, Chinese engineers have developed their own large reactor systems to the point that exports appear possible from 2013.

Having imported two 900 MWe pressurized water reactors for the Daya Bay nuclear power plant, CGNPC engineers embarked on a development program that led to the CPR-1000 design. The first of these began operation at Ling Ao Phase II in September, while 16 are under construction and many more planned. A domestic supply chain has been built up with each project and now only about ten percent of components need to be imported.

By 2013, Zhang said, a further design evolution will clear certain areas of intellectual property retained by Areva, resulting in a Generation III design called the ACPR-1000 that CGNPC could market in other countries.

The current CPR-1000 design sits roughly between today's mainstream Generation II reactors and the latest Generation III units, with digital instrumentation and control systems and a design life of 60 years. Standard construction time is 52 months, and the unit cost for Chinese units so far has been under CNY 10,000 ($1500) per kilowatt. This is less than half the price of US and European nuclear reactors.

2. Nuclear construction projects in China have moved forward with the dome of unit 1 of the Fangchenggang plant being lowered into place and heavy components for the primary reactor coolant system of the first EPR at Taishan have being delivered from France.






Construction of the first of two domestically-developed 1000 MWe CPR-1000 pressurized water reactors, which will form Phase I of the Fangchenggang nuclear power plant, began in July 2010. The plant - about 45 kilometres from the border with Vietnam - is a project of Guangxi Fangchenggang Nuclear Power Group, a joint venture between China Guangdong Nuclear Power Co and Guangxi Investment Group. The plant is planned to eventually house six units.

The cost of constructing Phase I is RMB 25 billion ($3.7 billion). Some 87% of the equipment to be used in the Phase I units is expected to be sourced from Chinese suppliers. The first unit is scheduled to begin operating in 2015, while the second will start up in 2016.

Areva announced that the first two steam generators and the pressurizer for unit 1 of the Taishan EPR power plant had been delivered to the construction site in China's Guangdong province.

The steam generators - 25 meters long and weighing 550 tonnes each - were manufactured at Areva's plant at Chalon-St Marcel. They were first transported to Fos-sur-Mer in southern France, before being shipped onwards by sea to the Taishan site where they are being kept in storage awaiting installation. The two remaining generators and the reactor pressure vessel internals are in transitand due to arrive in coming weeks.

Taishan 1 and 2 are the first two reactors based on Areva's EPR design to be built in China. The first two EPRs planned for the site form part of an €8 billion ($10.4 billion) contract signed by Areva and the Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (CGNPC) in November 2007. The Taishan project, 140 kilometres west of Hong Kong, is owned by the Guangdong Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company Limited, a joint venture between EDF (30%) and CGNPC.

First concrete was poured in October 2009, and unit 1 should begin operating in 2013, with unit 2 in 2014. The construction of two further EPRs at Taishan is expected to begin by 2015.

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