Areva, the French company that is the world’s biggest builder of nuclear power stations, is close to concluding a deal for two third-generation nuclear reactors in Guangdong, according to an AFP report citing sources close to the negotiations. French press reports tag the value of the deal at $8.25 billion. The reactors would raise China Guandong Nuclear Power Corp’s output by 3.4 gigawatts, the head of Areva’s Chinese operations, Arnaud de Bourayne told the AP.
China aims to increase its nuclear generating capacity from 7 gigawatts in 2005 to 40 gigawatts by 2020, to meet surging power demands while cutting emissions and reducing reliance on imported oil. That means adding on average about two gigawatts of nuclear power capacity a year for 15 years, suggesting the need for some 30 new nuclear plants. Earlier this week, Westinghouse Electric, which is now majority-owned by Japan’s Toshiba and which along with Russia’s Atomstroyexport is Areva’s main rival for the business in China, signed contracts to build four nuclear power plants in China, two in Sanmen in Zhejiang province and two at Haiyang in Shandong.
The deals come as power shortages are spreading beyond southern China to Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Sichuan province, according to the China Electricity Council. It says power consumption in the first six months of the year was up 15.6%, to 1.5 trillion kWh from the same period a year earlier. Industry accounted for about three-quarters of consumption with the shortages inflicting significant economic impact, the council says.
Update: France’s Economy Minister Christine Lagarde will be present for the signing a letter of intent on July 30 to build the Guangdong plant, the AP reports