Not even China likes the reactor its state-owned nuclear power company is helping to build in the UK. With its reactors at Taishan, models for the proposed Hinkley project, beset by lengthy delays and spiralling costs, Beijing appears to have soured on the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) technology. According to the World Nuclear Association, beyond the two at Taishan it has already committed to building and potentially a further two in planning, the only EPR reactors China will be associated with will be overseas. Four may sound like a perfectly respectable number, but in the scheme of China’s grand nuclear plans, it’s next to nothing. China expects to build around 40 nuclear power plants over the next five years, with Beijing preferring the other third-generation reactors, including the AP1000 due to be built in Cumbria. But things aren’t exactly working out with that model either. “The AP1000 units at Sanmen [in Zhejiang province] were due back in 2013 and 2014,” Antony Froggatt, energy research fellow at Chatham House, told Energydesk. “They’re now talking about finishing both of them sometime this year— so far they’re 18 months to two years behind schedule.” The reactor, designed by US energy company Westinghouse, which is now owned by Toshiba, may be considered the superior imported third-gen reactor but – like the EPR – it’s riddled with problems.
Energy desk 17th Feb 2016 read more »