China National Nuclear Power Co Ltd said it plans to establish a company, in Cangzhou, Hebei province, to promote the development of a traveling-wave reactor, a new nuclear design using fourth-generation technology.
The new company, with registered capital of 1 billion yuan ($153.23 million), will be in partnership with Huadian Fuxin Energy Ltd Co, Zhejiang Zheneng Electric Power Co Ltd, Shenhua Group and Jointo Energy Investment Co Ltd Hebei, according to a statement CNNP released with the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
CNNP, a unit of one of the country's three largest State-owned nuclear operators, China National Nuclear Corp, will own 35 percent of the company, followed by 30 percent for Shenhua Group, 15 percent for Huadian Fuxin Energy, 10 percent for Zhejiang Zheneng Electric Power and 10 percent for Jointo Energy Investment.
The traveling-wave reactor is a new nuclear design that uses fourth generation technology, which will reduce the need for the enrichment and reprocessing of uranium. It would create less nuclear waste and could be used for years without refueling.
Analysts said the new company's establishment is in accordance with China's plan to boost non-polluting power's role in the country's energy mix, as well as the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
Installed nuclear capacity, which more than doubled to 27.17 GW during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), is expected to double again by 2020 to 58 GW, according to the country's energy authority.
According to Joseph Jacobelli, a senior analyst of Asia utilities at Bloomberg Intelligence, CNNP will most likely be the principal driver of the joint venture; the joint venture will be a new area for Shenhua, whose exposure to clean energy has been limited to renewable energy.
CNNP said in a statement that the new company will also help facilitate the development of advanced TWR technology while responding to the country's energy plan.
Scientists have been trying to develop methods to recycle the waste by using it as fuel since the 1940s, aware of the long-term risks of storing radioactive waste and of nuclear fuel being diverted.
Washington-based Terra Power, co-founded by Bill Gates in 2006, has been working closely with China National Nuclear Corp to conduct research into the use of the new technology.
CNNP Technology Investment, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNNP, also plans to establish CNNP TWR Technology Investment (Tianjin) Co Ltd together with the four investors, sporting the same investment proportion.