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China expert lays out trillion yuan nuclear path for belt and road plan

As many as 30 nuclear reactors could be built by China over the next decade as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, a senior industry official told a meeting of the country’s top political advisory body this week.

Wang Shoujun, a standing committee member of the China People’s Political Consultative Conference, told delegates on Wednesday that China needed to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by the belt and road plan and give more financial and policy support to its nuclear sector.

“‘Going out’ with nuclear power has already become a state strategy, and nuclear exports will help optimise our export trade and free up domestic high-end manufacturing capacity,” he said, according to a report on the CPPCC’s official website.

Wang said China needed to improve research and development, localise the production of key nuclear components, and grow both the domestic and foreign nuclear markets to give full play to the country’s “comprehensive advantages” in costs and technology.

Wang, also the former chairman of the state-owned China National Nuclear Corp, said nuclear projects under the belt and road plan could earn Chinese firms as much as 1 trillion yuan (US$145.52 billion) by 2030, according to more details of his speech published by BJX.com.cn, a Chinese power industry news portal.

He said 41 nations taking part in the belt and road plan already had nuclear power programmes or were planning to develop them, and China only needed to secure a 20 per cent market share to create five million new jobs in the sector, according to the news portal.

The CPPCC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

China is in the middle of a reactor building programme which it hopes will serve as a shop window to promote its home-grown designs and technologies overseas, especially its own third-generation reactor design known as Hualong One.

But the pace of construction at home has slowed amid technological problems and delays at some key projects, as well as a suspension of new approvals that lasted more than three years.

Wang, according to BJX.com.cn, said there was overcapacity among local nuclear manufacturers, but the domestic market value for nuclear equipment could reach more than 48 billion yuan a year within two years. He did not say how much it was worth currently.

Source: South China Morning Post