Russia, China Reach Biggest Nuclear Power Deal in a Decade

Two new units at China’s Xudabao nuclear power plant will be built with Russian help after the two countries agreed on the conditions of the biggest nuclear energy deal in a decade, Asia Times reports.

An agreement on the reactors will soon be signed by Moscow and Beijing, authorities said.

Under the deal, two Russian VVER-1200 units worth a total of $1.7 billion will be built by China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom).

Construction of Unit 3 of the Xudabao nuclear power plant is expected to start in October 2021, according to CNNC. It will be followed by Unit 4 in August 2022. The single unit construction period lasts 69 months, and the construction interval between the two units is 10 months.

Russia and China have been strengthening ties in the nuclear energy sector lately. Apart from the Xudabao nuclear plant units, Rosatom is building nuclear units for the Tianwan nuclear power plant, which is one of the biggest joint projects of Russian-Chinese economic cooperation. The first two of its units, each with a capacity of 1,000 MWh, were launched in 2007. Unit 3 began operations in 2017, and the reactor at the latest, fourth unit was launched at minimum capacity in September last year after the fuel loading was finished ahead of schedule.

The nuclear plants will help to meet China’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to Joseph Jacobelli, an independent energy analyst and Asia-Pacific CEO of clean energy producer Joule Power. They will provide air pollution-free energy at a lower cost to consumers, he told Chinese media.