20.06.2014

China to operate world’s most powerful atomic reactor

fransk+nuclearEuropower. Hasse Farstad.

Chinese builders are entering the final construction stages for two state-of-the-art European Pressurized Reactors. Each will produce about twice as much electricity as the average reactor worldwide. (Illustration photo of regular French nuclear power plant).

China is moving quickly to become the first country to operate the world’s most powerful atomic reactor, Bloomberg News reported.

This happens even as France’s nuclear regulator says communication and cooperation on safety measures with its Chinese counterparts are lacking.

In the coastal city of Taishan, 160 kilometers from Hong Kong, Chinese builders are entering the final construction stages for two state-of-the-art European Pressurized Reactors. Each will produce about twice as much electricity as the average reactor worldwide, the news service said.

France has a lot riding on a smooth roll out of China’s EPRs. The country is home to Areva SA, which developed the next-generation reactor, and utility Electricite de France SA (EDF), which oversees the project.

French concern

The two companies, controlled by the French state, need a safe, trouble-free debut in China to ensure a future for their biggest new product in a generation. And French authorities have not hidden their concerns.

“It’s not always easy to know what is happening at the Taishan site,” Stephane Pailler, head of international relations at France’s Autorite de Surete Nucleaire regulator, told Bloomberg News.

“We don’t have a regular relationship with the Chinese on EPR control like we have with the Finnish,” said Pailler referring to another EPR plant under construction in Finland.

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