China Nuclear Engineering Group Corp signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia on Tuesdayto develop its homegrown fourth-generation nuclear technology in the oil-rich Middle Eastcountry.
Gu Jun, president and general manager of CNEC, said the agreement was a major steptoward the export of high-temperature gas-cooled reactors, an indigenous nuclear technologyjointly developed by CNEC and Tsinghua University.
He made the remarks during a ceremony in Beijing held by the Fuzhou New Economic Area,in which the Chinese company plans to invest nearly 16.3 billion yuan ($2.48 billion) to build anuclear manufacturing equipment industrial cluster and a production base for nucleargraphite, a key material used in high-temperature gas-cooled reactors.
“The timing is right for the export of such a type of nuclear reactor,” CNEC said in astatement.
About 95 percent of the high-temperature reactor, which uses a graphite-moderated core witha uranium fuel cycle to generate heat with less radioactive effect and higher efficiency, can bemanufactured domestically, apart from the nuclear graphite, which relies largely on imports.
Experts said despite Saudi Arabia being a fossil-fuel rich country, the country still needs tomeet demand from growing energy consumption.
“Nuclear power plants with a design life of more than 40 years cannot only provide energysecurity but also have the potential to resolve growing emissions concerns in the MiddleEast,” said Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research atXiamen University.
Saudi Arabia hopes to build 16 reactors by 2032 to meet its growing energy demand,involving a total investment of more than $80 billion. Its first reactor is likely to go on line in2022, earlier reports said.
CNEC said it is also targeting other foreign markets including South Africa and the UnitedArab Emirates.
It said that the agreement with Saudi Arabia will bring other possibilities for nuclearcooperation between China and other partners along the Belt and Road Initiative, whichincludes more than 60 economies along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st CenturyMaritime Silk Road.
Projects planned in the Fuzhou New Area
Projects worth 331.5 billion yuan ($50.3 billion) are being set up in the Fuzhou New Area ofFujian province by about 70 State-owned enterprises this year.
The investment will be spread over 64 projects, including those in high technology.
The Fuzhou New Area was approved by the State Council in September 2015 and is the 14thState-level area for regional development. State-level areas are special economic zonesdirectly managed by the State Council for major national development missions. The FuzhouNew Area is expected to play a pivotal role in furthering cross-Straits exchanges and attractmore modern industries to East China.
The projects include:
・ A 10 billion yuan investment by China Three Gorges Corp on an offshore wind powerindustrial park for technological research and development, equipment manufacturing, powerstation operations and maintenance.
・ The 30 billion yuan from Aluminum Corp of China Ltd for an aluminum refining project thatwill use advanced technologies to make aluminum auto sheets and architectural aluminumshuttering.
・ A 16.3 billion yuan investment by China Nuclear Engineering Group Co for an industrialpark for nuclear-related businesses such as nuclear power equipment and nuclear-gradegraphite production.
・ A 25.2 billion yuan investment from China State Construction Engineering Corp for theMetro Line 6 in Fuzhou, the capital city of Fujian province.
・ China Travel Service (HK) Group Corp’s 15 billion yuan investment on a travel resort thatencompasses hotels, ecological leisure activity bases and health centers.