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China plans 1st localised 3G nuclear power reactor

BEIJING, Dec 18 (Reuters) - China is planning its first “localised” third-generation nuclear power reactor based on AP1000 nuclear technologies, even though the world’s first AP1000 reactors have just begun construction.

State Nuclear Power Technology Corp (SNPTC) and China Huaneng Group, China’s leading power generating group, established a joint venture on Thursday to build a demonstration third-generation reactor in Shidaowan, Rongcheng city, in the eastern province of Shandong, SNPTC said.

SNPTC was established in 2007 for the purpose of introducing, absorbing and localising AP1000 nuclear power technologies from U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric, owned by Toshiba 6502.T.

After heated competition, Westinghouse Electric in 2006 won the right to build four AP1000 reactors in the coastal provinces of Zhejiang and Shandong, securing a much-needed showcase for its untested technologies.

In exchange, China was granted a generous technology transfer agreement that would form the model for its own “localised” reactors.

Construction of the third of the four AP1000 reactors began on Dec. 15 after the two started earlier this year.

Construction of the localised demonstration reactor, with a generating capacity of 1.4 gigawatts, was scheduled to begin in April 2013, with operations set to start in December 2017, SNPTC said in an announcement on its website (www.snptc.com.cn).

Another reactor, with capacity of 1.7 gigawatts, would be considered at the same site.

SNPTC owns 55 percent of the joint venture with Huaneng Group, parent of Huaneng Power International 0902.HK600011.SS, holding the remainder.

SNPTC did not provide any investment figures.

Huaneng planned seven reactors at Shidaowan, which could include four AP1000 reactors, two demonstration reactors based on AP1000 and a small high-temperature, gas-cooled reactor developed by Chinese scientists, according to an SNPTC official.

China has fast-tracked the construction of nuclear power plants, as the world’s second-largest power user rushes to increase installed clean power sources to reduce the country’s reliance on coal-fired power. (Reporting by Jim Bai and Chen Aizhu; Editing by Chris Lewis)

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