Recent milestones in the nuclear cooperation between Rosatom and China (1)

Recent milestones in the nuclear cooperation between Rosatom and China (1)

On June 8, during a state visit , Vladimir Putin met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing . The package of documents signed in Beijing can be safely called “strategic”, not only for Russia and China – the cooperation of the nuclear corporations will also set the direction for the world nuclear project for the next decade. The agreement is complex, covers several areas of nuclear energy, each signed document has become a milestone.

At the end of 2011, when the IAEA and the nuclear regulatory authorities of the state analyzed the causes that caused the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant to crash, a new, extremely stringent list of safety requirements for nuclear power units was developed. The State Council of the People’s Republic of China in the same 2011 adopted the “Nuclear Safety Development Plan for 2011-2020”. China has been and remains a strong supporter of the development of nuclear energy as a strategic part of its economy. A huge population, ambitious plans for development, raising the standard of living – must rely on a strong foundation, and this in our century is precisely energy. Up to now, more than 60% of the electricity in China is accounted for by coal-fired power plants. What in many countries is a “theoretical” problem, in China it became a harsh reality – the environment does not withstand such pressure, the country’s large cities are suffocating from smog in the most literal sense of the word. The plan of China’s leadership is completely logical – energy should “go away from coal”, diversifying the sources of generation used.

China has already become the world’s largest importer of natural gas, but in the nuclear power industry, tasks that require hard work have been set. In 2015, the XIII Five-Year Plan was approved – by 2020 China must have at least 58 GW of nuclear generation and build another 30 reactors. Is it possible to cope with such work alone? The answer to the question was the joint statement of the heads of governments of China and Russia “On the development of strategic cooperation in the field of the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes”, adopted on November 7, 2016. Yes, in the territory of China, not only its specialists were engaged in the construction of the nuclear power plant, but the entire “big nuclear troika” – Russia, France and the United States. So even the joint statement of the heads of government was a landmark – China appreciated the competence of Rosatom. In August 2016, the VVER-1200 reference unit was energetically commissioned at Novovoronezh NPP-2, the first post-Fukushima generation III + reactor in Russia and in the world. Throughout the construction of Novovoronezh, experts from China visited, carefully studying each stage of construction, assessing the level of security provided by Rosatom specialists at the world’s most innovative reactor. Obviously, the results of these inspections were one of the grounds for the declaration of the heads of our governments – the Chinese appreciated the level of the project and the quality of the work.

About Author

Arnaud Lefevre

Arnaud Lefevre is the Chief Executive Officer of Dynatom International. Arnaud is in charge of the international development of the business portfolio.