Saturday, 12 October 2013

Nuclear safety concerns with Chinese technology‏

The Times has reported (10 October)  that China General Nuclear Power Group (CGNPG) is prepared to co-finance the proposed first new nuclear power plant at Hinkley with Electricité de France (EDF), as long as it is able to build some of its own reactor designs at other UK sites (“China rescues Hinkley deal for a piece of nuclear action,”  10 Oct.).
In the South China Morning Post on  7 October, it was revealed that the world's first AP1000 third-generation nuclear power plant being built in Sanmen, Zhejiang province, the type CGNPG would wish to build  in Britain, has fallen behind schedule, and questions are now being raised over its safety standards.
"This is very advanced technology, but it has not been commercialised in a nuclear reactor anywhere, so it needs to be proven over time after the first AP1000 reactor is commissioned," Li Yulun,  a former vice-president China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC), critically observed to the paper.
The Chinese State Council decided in October last year to resume "normal" construction of nuclear power plants, bringing to a halt  a 19-month suspension of new project approvals following a detailed  safety review of all nuclear reactors planne dand under construction,  arising from   concerns raised  by the nuclear disaster at Fukushima  in Japan in March 2011.
Although the UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation granted "interim" approvals to AP1000's design in late 2011, much safety work remains to be done to meet UK licensing requirements.
I wonder whether Energy Secretary Ed Davey was told of the new safety difficulties  during his recent visit to China to drum up commercial support for nuclear new  build in the UK; and whether Chancellor George Osborne will have it brought to his attention during his current  visit to China to drum up business.

No comments:

Post a Comment