Fourth—and Last?—Westinghouse AP1000 Connected to Chinese Grid
WNISR, 16 October 2018
The Haiyang-2 AP1000 in Shandong Province, owned by the China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) and operated by the Shandong Nuclear Power Company, Ltd (SDNCP) was connected to the grid on 13 October 2018. This brings to four the number of Westinghouse AP1000 reactors operating in China. Haiyang-1 was connected to the grid on 17 August 2018, and Sanmen-1 and -2 were connected on 30 June 2018 and 24 August 2018 respectively. Haiyang-2 is scheduled for commercial operation in early 2019.
All four AP1000 reactors in eastern China have experienced delays and cost overruns. Five years later than scheduled, the difficult startup of Sanmen and Haiyang reactors makes the prospect of additional AP1000 reactor contracts in China highly uncertain. Adding to the woes of Westinghouse, which filed for bankruptcy in 2017, and the U.S. nuclear industry for future business with China is the recent move by the Trump administration to place restrictions nuclear technology exports. In the last week, the administration has accused Beijing of stealing U.S. nuclear technology to gain a competitive edge and is also diverting U.S. nuclear technology toward military uses, such as propulsion systems for submarines and aircraft carriers. After a year of review, the administration decided on 11 October 2018 to restrict the export of some U.S. nuclear technology and components to China. U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry stated that, “the United States cannot ignore the national security implications of China’s efforts to obtain nuclear technology outside of established processes of U.S.-China civil nuclear cooperation.” It is unclear at this stage what the restrictions will mean in practice, but they are unlikely to encourage China to sign new reactor supply from U.S. vendors.