Two of the largest state-run nuclear power companies in China are expected to merge, which will give the Chinese regime extra power to build and manage nuclear energy facilities in other countries.
Both companies bring a different card to the table for the merger. State Nuclear Power Technology Corp. can build modern third-generation nuclear reactors. China Power Investment Corp., meanwhile, is one of only three companies in China licensed to construct and operate nuclear power plants.
When the two companies merge, they will become a one-stop shop for anyone looking to buy, build, and operate nuclear power plants.
According to People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, China’s State Council is expected to green light the merger “soon.”
It paraphrased unnamed industry sources saying the move could “spur more overseas ventures …”
When the two companies merge, they’ll form a new company called State Power Investment Group, said State Nuclear Power Technology Corp. Chairman Wang Binghua during a nuclear power forum in South Africa on March 17, according to People’s Daily.
The new company will have assets over $113 billion and annual sales of more than $32 billion, according to the report.
Chinese Power Plants
“China’s policy is to ‘go global’ with exporting nuclear technology including heavy components in the supply chain,” according to the World Nuclear Association website.
The key to the kingdom, so to speak, will be their offering of the third-generation AP1000 nuclear reactor, and the Chinese regime is already working with several countries—from South Africa to the United Kingdom—to both build and operate their nuclear power plants.
The Chinese regime is able to develop the modern AP1000 nuclear reactor through a 2008 co-development agreement with the U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric Corp.
South Africa plans to spend $93 billion to build six nuclear reactors by 2030, People’s Daily reported. The Chinese firms and Russia’s Rosatom are among the main bidders for the contracts.
During Wang’s visit last week, he was leveraging the AP1000 reactor and the expected merger to win the South African contracts, which he said will give the Chinese regime more power to export third-generation nuclear technology to South Africa.
The Chinese regime’s ambitions in exporting nuclear energy are causing problems not only with other countries in the nuclear energy market—particularly the United States, Russia, and Japan—but also with the 48-member state Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) focused on reducing nuclear proliferation.
The NSG’s guidelines prohibit member states from selling nuclear technology to countries that are not signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Epoch Times reported on Feb. 9 that the Chinese regime is currently in hot water with the NSG for cooperating with Pakistan to build at least six nuclear power plants.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang signed an agreement with the British government in June 2014 that allows the Chinese regime to design and run nuclear power plants in the United Kingdom.
The agreement brought plenty of controversy, particularly with Hinkley Point C project in Somerset, Southwest England, which will become the U.K.’s first new nuclear power facility in a generation.
Among the potential partners for the Hinkley Point C nuclear project are China General Nuclear Power Corp and China National Nuclear Corp, which could take 30 to 40 percent of the project, according to a June 20, 2014, report from global energy intelligence company Enerdata.
Shortly after the deal was signed, Daily Mail reported that “Some experts have warned against giving China a controlling stake in the industry on national security grounds, saying it would leave Britain at the mercy of the communist regime.”
The Independent cited union leaders in the United Kingdom warning that giving the Chinese regime control over the facilities means it has the power to “turn the lights on and off”
Security hasn’t been the only point of contention in the debate, however. Human rights have also been a key point.
“This House … believes, in light of appalling human rights violations, that accepting money from the Chinese State Investment Bank to invest in U.K. new nuclear is accepting money tainted with blood,” Paul Flynn, the anti-nuclear power Labor MP for Newport West, said in the House of Commons in June 2014, according to The Independent.