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3G Tech to Help China Build Nulcear Reactors
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China on Tuesday finalized a contract with a consortium, led by the US-based Westinghouse Electric Co, to build four nuclear power reactors in the eastern part of the country.

Neither party revealed the amount involved in the contract but earlier media reports had estimated it to be US$8 billion.

China will use Westinghouse's AP1000 technology to build the four reactors, two of which will be in Sanmen, Zhejiang Province, and the others in Haiyang, Shandong Province.

The cooperation between China and the US will be "crucial" in the development of the country's third generation nuclear power technology, Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan said.

"The contract will result in the first-ever use of advanced US nuclear power technology in China," Westinghouse President and Chief Executive Stephen Tritch said.

Based on standard Westinghouse pressurized water reactor technology, AP1000 is "the safest, most advanced nuclear power technology in the world". It has been chosen for at least 12 reactors in the US to be built in the next 10 to 12 years.

The deal is expected to generate at least 5,000 jobs for Westinghouse and its consortium partners, the company said.

Work on the first reactor is expected to begin in 2009, and it will become operational in late 2013. The other three are expected to come on line between 2014 and 2015.

Japan's Toshiba took majority control of Westinghouse last October. Two months later China signed an MOU with the company for the four reactors after it outbid competitors Areva of France and Atomstroiexport of Russia following a two-year negotiation process.

Nuclear power is the most important electricity generating method after thermal power and hydropower in China, and the country has become the third-largest nuclear power producer in Asia. Only Japan and South Korea generate more nuclear power.

All nuclear reactors in operation or being constructed in China have employ the first- or second-generation technology from France, Canada or Russia.

This year the country formed the State Nuclear Power Technology Corp (SNPTC), which is mainly in charge of developing third-generation nuclear power technologies. The registered capital of SNPTC is 4 billion yuan (US$528.89 million).

The central government will fund 60 percent of the company, and the rest will come from four large State-owned enterprises, including the country's two nuclear conglomerates CNNC and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co.

(China Daily July 25, 2007)

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