Joint venture formed to construct Chinese plant

14 October 2008

A joint venture has been formally established in eastern China's Anhui province for the construction of the country's first inland nuclear power plant.

Anhui Wuhu Nuclear Power Co is 51% owned by China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (CGNPG). The other partners are Anhui Province Energy Group (15%), Shenergy Co (20%) and Shanghai Electric Power Co (14%). The joint venture company will be responsible for the preparation, construction and operation of Phase I of the Anhui Wuhu nuclear power project. The partners signed an agreement in May 2007 concerning the first phase of the project.

The initial phase of the planned plant at Bamaoshan, some 60 kilometres from Wuhu on the Yangtze river, will consist of two reactors which will cost some 50 billion Yuan ($7.3 billion) to construct. Eventually it is planned for the Bamaoshan site to host four reactors of around 1000 MWe each. Half of the plant's output will be transmitted to Shanghai under a program that aims to transmit power from energy-rich Anhui to power-hungry Shanghai.

A feasibility study on the Wuhu plant has recently been completed and the project is currently awaiting final approval from the central government. Although no timetable for the plant's construction has been announced, a CGNPC senior official told the Xinhua news agency that construction is expected to start soon, pending National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) approval.

China so far employs French, Russian and indigenous pressurized water reactors, as well as Canadian pressurized heavy water reactors. Agreements have been made and contracts are under development for the country to build and subsequently license the technology of more advanced American and French units, while its own 1080 MWe design - the CRP-1000 - is under development for export and looks most likely for use at Bamaoshan.