HK firm invests in China nuclear plant

July 26, 2011 at 4:46 PM
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HONG KONG, July 26 (UPI) -- Despite the fallout from Japan's March disaster at its Fukushima nuclear power complex, China seems determined to advance its agenda to develop civilian nuclear energy.

Hong Kong's China Light and Power Holdings Ltd. announced that its subsidiary, CLP Nuclear Investment Company Ltd., has reached an agreement with the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Company Ltd. to invest in its Yangjiang Nuclear Power Station Project in western Guangdong province, purchasing a 17 percent share in the nuclear power plant for $11 billion.

The facility's electrical production is 6,000 megawatts, the company announced Tuesday.

Construction on the facility began in 2008 in Guangdong province. The NPP facility consists of six 1,000-megawatt pressurized water reactors, a configuration similar to Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear power complex. The NPP is 147 miles west of Hong Kong and construction will last from 2013-17. The NPP's electricity will be sold locally.

China's relentless search for energy sources to sustain its booming economy is actively promoting alternative energy sources such as nuclear, wind and solar in an effort both to reduce rising demand for imported oil and natural gas as well as reducing the country's ongoing environmental damage from its heavy reliance on coal to produce electricity.

Despite having a carefully controlled media, Chinese government officials have acknowledged the implications of Japan's Fukushima nuclear debacle by emphasizing that the country's nuclear policy would stress safety over rampant rapid economic development at any cost.

China Light and Power Holdings Ltd. sought to allay citizens' safety fears about the new NPP by stating in a news release that it had "carefully assessed" the new NPP's safety standards regarding the facility's design, construction and operational planning to ensure that they comply with governmental regulations, adding that the NPP will follow "safety enhancement measures for withstanding extreme multiple natural disasters and strengthening capability for emergency preparedness."

Reacting to citizens' fear about the possible implications for China's NPPs, last month China's nuclear regulators said safety reviews of 28 reactors under construction in China should be completed within three months, while the country's 13 NPPs currently online were rigorously examined and given clean bills of health.

China Light and Power Holdings Ltd. released a statement commenting that the new power plant will also follow "safety enhancement measures for withstanding extreme multiple natural disasters and strengthening capability for emergency preparedness."

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