China’s Nuclear Power Companies Merge To Strengthen Export Ambitions

China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corp. (SNPTC)—general contractor of the first four AP1000 units being built in China—and China Power Investment Corp. officially announced a merger in a move to reinforce the country’s plans to eventually export reactors.

The new company, State Power Investment Corp., will own assets worth more than $112.94 billion.

SNPTC was formed in 2007 to develop technology transferred from Westinghouse Electric Co.’s AP1000 reactor design. The company has since developed a flagship third-generation reactor, the CAP1400, on the basis of AP1000 technology. The reactor, which bears Chinese intellectual property rights and is backed by full fuel cycle capability, will be demonstrated at the Shidaowan site in Shandong Province.

Construction on the first unit in Shandong Province kicked off on May 15. The second will begin construction in August. Both reactors could come online between 2019 and 2020.

China Power Investment Corp. is already one of China’s leading independent power producers. It has an installed capacity of more than 90 GW, and it is also one of the country’s three authorized nuclear plant developers. The company’s most prominent nuclear project entails the two AP1000 units at Haiyang in which it has a 65% stake.

Separately, China’s two other authorized nuclear developers are considering a merger. Earlier this year, China’s National Energy Administration ordered China General Nuclear Corp. (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC) to merge their two third-generation reactor designs—CGN’s ACPR1000 design and CNNC’s ACP1000 design—into one standardized design.

The resulting design will be known as Hualong One. China already plans to use the design at its fifth and sixth units at the Fuqing site in Fujian Province. It also potentially has its first international order from Argentina. But both CNNC and CGN have their own supply chains for the Hualong One, which means their versions would differ slightly.

If CGN and CNNC, which were set up as nuclear competitors, merge, they would compete with the State Power Investment Corp.

Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)