U.S., China to bid for overseas nuclear projects: U.S. energy secretary

Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:46am EDT
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By David Stanway

BEIJING (Reuters) - The United States is committed to working with China on the development of new nuclear reactors in both countries and will also encourage joint bids for projects elsewhere, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in Beijing on Wednesday.

"Nuclear collaboration played an important role in our visit and deservedly so," said Moniz, speaking to journalists in a briefing after a series of meetings with senior Chinese energy officials.

Moniz said the U.S.-based Westinghouse, one of the world's leading nuclear firms, was prepared to bid for reactor tenders in Britain with the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and the State Nuclear Power Technology Company (SNPTC).

"There is an explicit collaboration with Westinghouse...and the issue of joining together in terms of a British tender is part of that."

Despite scaling back its plans in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, China still aims to raise its total nuclear capacity to 58 gigawatts (GW) by 2020, up from just 12.6 GW now, and foreign reactor builders like Westinghouse and France's Areva SA (AREVA.PA: Quote) have been competing fiercely for new projects.

China's ambitious state-owned nuclear firms also hope to use the growing domestic market as a springboard to global domination, with plans to sell homegrown reactor designs and technologies throughout the world.

CNNC's major rival, China General Nuclear Power (CGN), made the first move earlier this month, teaming up with France's EDF (EDF.PA: Quote) in a 16-billion pound ($25.69 billion) deal to construct two third-generation European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) in southwest England.

Two EPRs, designed by Areva, are currently being constructed by CGN in southeast China's Guangdong province.   Continued...