January 29, 2015 / 6:50 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 2-EDF says first Taishan nuclear plant to be ready end 2015

* EDF annnounces new delay for Chinese EPR reactors

* Order for two more EPRs still under discussion

* China utilities want industrial role in Hinkley Point

* EDF to work with CGN on new medium-size reactor model (Adds detail on Hinkley Point, cooperation on new reactor)

By Dominique Patton

BEIJING, Jan 29 (Reuters) - French utility EDF expects the first of two nuclear reactors under construction in China, which have been subject to repeated delays, to be completed at the end of this year.

Chinese utility China General Nuclear (CGN) and EDF are in a 70-30 joint venture to build two 1650 megawatt European pressurised reactors (EPRs) designed by Areva in Taishan.

They had been slated to start in 2013 and 2014 respectively, but those deadlines have been put back several times. Asked when they will be finished, Herve Machenaud, head of EDF Asia-Pacific, said “in principle at the end of this year” for Taishan 1 and “3-4 months later” for Taishan 2.

He refused to say whether CGN and EDF plan to go ahead with plans to build a third and fourth EPR in Taishan.

“We talk about it every time,” he said, during a Beijing visit by the French prime minister.

Analysts expect CGN wants to see at least one EPR up and running before ordering more.

Machenaud declined to comment on how CGN and fellow utility China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) would divide their stake in the 16 billion pound ($24 billion) project to build two EPRs in Hinkley Point, Britain, but indicated they want to be more than financiers.

“They want to have an industrial impact,” he said.

At the end of 2013, when EDF signed the deal, it said CGN and CNNC would take a combined 30-40 percent stake.

EDF also said its CEO Jean-Bernard Levy planned to meet with CGN and CNNC to discuss their involvement in developing new nuclear power plants in China.

“This will pave the way for cooperation between EDF, Areva and their Chinese partners in the development of step-by-step evolutions of medium-size reactors,” it said.

Areva is already designing its own 1100 MW Atmea reactor with Japanese partner Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) .

“Atmea is our reference technology for medium-size reactors and we continue our close collaboration with MHI,” an Areva spokesman said.

Areva wants to cooperate with EDF, its Chinese partners and MHI on the development of medium-sized reactors by contributing specific elements of its technology, the spokesman added.

$1 = 0.6609 pounds Reporting by Dominique Patton in Beijing and Geert De Clercq in Paris; writing by Geert De Clercq; editing by Andrew Callus and Elaine Hardcastle

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