Monday, October 31, 2005

US to transfer nuclear reactor tech to China

People's Daily Online -- US to transfer nuclear reactor tech to China:

A senior US official Tuesday expressed repeated commitment to transferring nuclear reactor technologies to China. China has drafted ambitious plans to use nuclear power to alleviate growing energy shortages.

Administrator of the US National Nuclear Security Administration, Linton Brooks, told China Daily: "There is no reason why the (reactor) technology should not be transferred to a country like China."

Industry insiders said the commitment from Brooks, who is also undersecretary of the US Department of Energy, is expected to boost US nuclear power company Westinghouse's attempts to win a US$8-billion contract to build four nuclear reactors at Sanmen in Zhejiang Province and Guangdong Province's Yangjiang.

So far, the Chinese Government has been busy reviewing bid application from the US company, France's Areva and Russia's AtomStroyExport.

Several high-level US officials have expressed interest in loosening controls over exports of nuclear reactor technologies to China. The controls have rendered Westinghouse unable to participate in China's nuclear reactor construction, despite the company having had a presence here for years.

An earlier report said that Westinghouse plans to sell its new AP1000 reactor, which is to be approved by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission by the end of the year.

China is considering picking one strong partner to help it build dozens of new nuclear plants over the coming years, as part of the plan to raise the country's nuclear power generating capacity fourfold by 2020 to 36,000 megawatts.

Brooks said the US will forge a partnership with China to enhance nuclear security capacity.

He said a week-long demonstration has been organized by his department and the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) in Beijing, to prevent nuclear material theft, diversion and sabotage.

"The demonstration, which ends on Friday, is the first one we have held in China, and in fact the first one we have held outside the US," said Brooks.

CAEA Chairman Sun Qin said the demonstration is to promote the adoption of modern security practices and technologies at civilian nuclear facilities in China.

Brooks also said that the US does not conduct nuclear security co-operation with China at military level, despite "the great potential."


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