July 26, 2007

USA, France Give China Nuclear Deals

While doing everything in its power to prevent Russia’s Atomstroyexport company from completing a power plant in Iran, American and French companies will give China complete transfers of nuclear technology in two giant business deals.

Add Westinghouse to the list of American brands cutting ribbons in Beijing. This week Westinghouse (owned by Toshiba of Japan and Shaw Group, a Louisiana corporation) signed a deal with China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corp., to build four nuclear reactors with the promise of more in the future.

The multi-billion dollar arrangement involves Westinghouse and several Chinese companies including Sanmen Nuclear Power Co., a unit of China National Nuclear Corp., and Shandong Nuclear Power Co., a unit of China Power Investment Corp. China Power Investment Corp. trades on the Hong Kong stock exchange and its shares were up over 5% July 25 when the deal was announced.

The four reactors will be built in pairs at Sanmen city in coastal Zhejiang Province and at Haiyang on the coast of Shandong in northeastern China starting in 2009 and become operational by 2013 to 2015. The power plants will include the transfer of all technology. Westinghouse could get $9 billion worth of business from the deal. According the company it represents 5,000 jobs in the USA and in particular sustained business for Westinghouse’s fuel assembly operations, one of the main employers in the capital city of South Carolina.

China currently has 11 nuclear power plants operating built by native technology and earlier deals with Russia, France, and the USA. There are plans to build up to 30 more nuclear plants in the next 20 years as the Chinese government tries to balance its big energy needs with dangerous pollution levels.

Not to be outdone, France’s state-owned Areva Group, the world’s largest maker of nuclear reactors, announced today that talks to buld two nuclear plants in China will conclude in a few months. The contract will be with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp., and could be worth up to $8 billion. Areva will provide and transfer third generation EPR pressurized water reactors.

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