I see China’s nuclear program as the most likely path to global deployment of nuclear power fast enough to help mitigate climate change. South Korea will also contribute, but at much smaller scale.
The World Nuclear Association reports that the CAP1400 may be exported at an estimated capital cost of USD $3000/kW. The CAP1400 design was completed in 2012, site works completed in April 2014 and the State Nuclear Plant Demonstration Company hopes to have this first plant operational by 2018. This all looks like good news to me:
Westinghouse announced in 2008 that it was working with SNPTC and Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research & Design Institute (SNERDI) to develop jointly a passively safe 1400-1500 MWe design from the AP1000/CAP1000, for large-scale deployment. SNPTC initially called it the Large Advanced Passive PWR Nuclear Power Plant (LPP or APWR). It is one of 16 Key National Projects in China. This development with SNERDI opens the possibility of China itself exporting the new larger units with Westinghouse’s cooperation.
(…snip detailed description of the reactor…)
CNNC and SNPTC have talked of export potential, and SNPTC said that “exploration of the global market” for the CAP1400 would start in 2013, particularly in South America and Asia. In mid-2013 SNPTC quoted approx. $3000/kW capital cost and 7 c/kWh.
China is working diligently on new reactors designs that depend only on Chinese-owned intellectual property. This indicates a leadership that intends to take a big share of the global nuclear power market. That is a very good thing, because the US, UK and Germany have abdicated their leadership role – leaving only France & Russia of the original nuclear market players. It’s going to be an Asian Nuclear Century. Hopefully India will also engage the market once their designs are locally proven.
Image credit Paul Sakuma/Associated Press – Tesla Fremont plant