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China steps up efforts to export nuclear reactors - including Westinghouse's

Posting in Energy

China, which has ambitious plans to deploy nuclear power domestically, is stepping up its efforts to export nuclear technology abroad.

Three moves this week by state owned nuclear companies all demonstrated that the economic powerhouse intends to capitalize on a growing global interest in nuclear power:

Coming to a country near you? SNPTC is one of several Chinese nuclear companies hoping to fly its flag abroad. It wants to export technology acquired from Westinghouse.

The Beijing-based Westinghouse joint venture, called SNPTC-WEC Nuclear Power Technical Services, extends a partnership in which Westinghouse and SNPTC are building four nuclear reactors in China - the first four in the world for Westinghouse's "passively cooled" AP-1000 reactor  - and in which Westinghouse has transferred technology to China.

The new company aims to build up the supply chain of AP1000 nuclear plant equipment by qualifying suppliers who would sell both within China and globally.

Global aspirations motivated the name change at CGN, which people had "wrongly believed to be a provincial-level firm," Xinhua wrote. "The company still takes Guangdong as its base camp, while reaching out to the global market," spokesman Hu Guangyao said.

South Africa marks a potential landing spot for CGN, as the South African government has proposed a new nuclear program; thus, the three-company pitch from China this week.

Worldwide nuclear electricity generation will grow 30 percent by 2020, as many newcomer countries fire up nuclear for the first time, according to research firm Global Data. This week, Russia pushed a plan to build an operate nuclear stations for emerging countries, and Japan agreed to provide nuclear technology to the United Arab Emirates in exchange for oil. South Korea is leading the nuclear build there.

China has already agreed to build six nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia as part of the country's plan to derive about a sixth of its power from nuclear by 2032.

China operates 17 nuclear reactors at home today and is currently building 28 reactors domestically. According to the World Nuclear Association, its combined total of domestic reactors either under construction, planned or proposed is around 150 - more than a third of the 435 nuclear reactors presently operating commercially around the world.

Image grabbed from SNPTC website.

A quick global tour of nuclear, on SmartPlanet:

— By on May 16, 2013, 9:42 PM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure