Atomstroyexport, the Russian Federation’s nuclear power equipment and services export monopoly, in September signed a US$1.8 billion contract with the Chinese government for development of the second stage of the Tianwan nuclear power plant in Lianyungang City. Under the agreement, Units 3 and 4 are to be built in a way similar to construction of the first stage of Tianwan—two Russian-designed VVER-1000 reactors that came online in 2007, each with a rated capacity of 1,060 MW (Figure 1).

1. Splitting atomic sales. Russia and China signed an agreement in September to build the second phase of the Tianwan nuclear power plant in Lianyungang City (shown here). Russia designed the first phase of that project—two VVER-1000 reactors rated at 1,060 MW that came online in 2007. The partnership could result in more projects around the world. In a bid to boost energy exports, Russia has more than a dozen reactors under construction worldwide, and it is aggressively bidding for nuclear power projects in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, India, and Southeast Asia. China, meanwhile, has begun a construction frenzy of domestic nuclear power plants, with 24 already under way at the end of September. Courtesy: Atomstroyexport

The agreement is important on several fronts, key among them that Atomstroyexport plans to build the reactors in cooperation with a Chinese supplier of low-speed turbines. According to the subsidiary of Russian state-owned corporation Rosatom, “the practice of Russian-Chinese cooperation has good prospects for replication” in other—mostly developing—countries.

Both countries are already heavily involved in reactor construction. China, on Sept. 29, officially began work on the nuclear island at Nindge 4—the country’s 24th project under way—using domestically forged equipment and services: Nearly 85% of the CPR-1000’s reactor’s parts will reportedly come from Chinese suppliers. Rosatom, meanwhile, is building 15 reactors, five of which are outside Russia, and it is aggressively bidding for nuclear power projects around the globe (see “Russia’s Nuclear Mission,” in POWER’ s August 2010 issue).

More recently, it garnered nuclear cooperation agreements with Kuwait. And, according to Rosatom’s Chief Executive Officer Sergei Kiriyenko, the company may soon sign a contract with Vietnam for two reactors, and it expects to win a tender for Jordan’s first nuclear plant. Rosatom also is vying for a tender to build four reactors in the Czech Republic, and it is preparing to start work on the Belene plant in Bulgaria, he said.

Kiriyenko recently told reporters that the nuclear holding company plans to boost sales from the current $15 billion to $50 billion by 2030, the bulk of which will be from developing countries. As Bloomberg Businessweek reported recently, this could be because Russia offers a competitive price to build new reactors: Citing the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the magazine said a 1,000-MW plant in Russia costs US$2.9 billion on average (exclusive of financing).

Sonal Patel is POWER’s senior writer.