Westinghouse shares technology

| Saturday, Dec. 19, 2009

Capitalizing on Westinghouse Electric Co. technology, two of China's largest power suppliers said Friday they plan to build a nuclear-power demonstration project near the nation's coast.

The project will take China a step forward in its effort to build a 1.4 gigawatt power plant, whose construction would begin in 2013. The plant will expand on the Westinghouse AP1000 design -- a simplified, "advanced passive" (AP) design that reduces the need for human action in the event of an accident.

Westinghouse, based in Cranberry, is building the first of four AP1000 nuclear-power plants for China under an agreement signed in 2007. Westinghouse finished its first major concrete pour Thursday on the first plant, which is scheduled to come on line in 2013.

China's demonstration project under way is "a cooperative agreement" between Westinghouse and the state-owned China Huaneng Group, said Westinghouse spokesman Vaughn Gilbert.

Gilbert did not disclose terms of the technology transfer, calling it a "commercial opportunity," but said Westinghouse would provide services and components from the United States, including Pittsburgh. The company previously committed to supply AP1000 technology as the basis for China's efforts to develop its own nuclear know-how.

Westinghouse is slated to build six, AP1000 plants in the United States, he said. The first one would come on line in 2016.

Westinghouse, which was acquired by Japan's Toshiba Group in 2006, has received orders worth $9.8 billion to build the four AP1000 plants in China.

China's State Nuclear Power Technology Corp., also known as SNPTC, will hold a 55 percent stake in the demonstration project. China Huaneng Group, the nation's largest utility, will hold the other 45 percent, SNPTC said on its Web site.

The power plant, to be located in Weihai, a coastal city in eastern China's Shandong province, would start operating by late 2017, it said.

Government plans call for nuclear plants to supply 4 percent to 6 percent of China's power needs by 2020, up from about 2 percent currently. But some estimates of planned capacity run much higher. The country now has six nuclear plants.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.


Show commenting policy