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China Starts Constructing $17-Billion Nuclear Power Plant

China started this week construction work on a new US$17-billion nuclear power plant project, for which it will install Russian nuclear reactors at the Xudabao project in northeastern China, World Nuclear News reports.

The Xudabao 3 unit is the first of four units at the plant to see the beginning of construction. Russia’s Rosatom will design the nuclear island and will provide equipment. The Russian firm will also provide commissioning services for the equipment it will have supplied. The Russians will also provide the construction and equipment for the Xudabao 4 unit, whose construction is expected to begin in 2022.

The two units are currently expected to be commissioned in 2027 or 2028.

Construction for the Xudabao units 1 and 2 has yet to begin, according to World Nuclear News.

Last month, China had to close down a nuclear power plant in the province of Guangdong in the south because it was damaged. The operator, however, insisted that the Taishan nuclear plant does not have any major safety issue.  

A month before that, French company Framatome, a subsidiary of French energy giant EDF, issued a statement related to Taishan’s reactor number 1, saying that it “is supporting resolution of a performance issue with the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant.”

The Taishan nuclear plant could turn into an “imminent radiological threat,” the part owner of the facility, the French company has told the United States, CNN reported in the middle of June, citing U.S. officials and a letter of the French firm it had obtained.

A week before the Chinese operator of the plant announced it would shut down for maintenance, France’s EDF, which holds 30 percent in the TNPJVC joint venture operating Taishan, had said in a statement that it would have shut the plant if it were in France.

“EDF's operating procedures for the French nuclear fleet would lead EDF, in France, to shut down the reactor in order to accurately assess the situation in progress and stop its development. In Taishan, the corresponding decisions belong to TNPJVC,” the French company said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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