Concerns about nuclear power plants (NPPs) following the accident at Japan's Fukushima-1 power plant caused by the catastrophic natural disaster of March 11, 2011, have led to increased safety requirements for nuclear power, revision and even curtailment of plans for its further development in some countries.
However, it is clear to most States that there is no alternative to a peaceful atom.
nuclear power industry, China Keywords:, Fukushima-1 accident, Tianwan NPP
Speaking at the international forum ATOMEXPO-2011 held in Moscow in June 2011, Director General of the World Nuclear Association* John Ritch said that the refusal to continue using nuclear energy after the accident in Japan, which was announced by such countries as Germany, Italy, and Switzerland, is rather an exception to the rule. Most countries that are actively developing nuclear energy, including China, India, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, and the United Kingdom, "do not reduce their pace." All necessary measures to strengthen the safety of nuclear power plants can be implemented without large-scale costs1. To the states mentioned by Ritch, we will add France: declaring in June 2011 on the allocation of 1.43 billion rubles. Despite the development of nuclear energy, French President Nicolas Sarkozy stressed that "today there is no alternative to nuclear power" 2.
Beijing reacted quickly to the Fukushima tragedy. Already on March 16, 2011, the State Council of the People's Republic of China decided:
- Immediately conduct a full inspection of all operating nuclear power plants and make sure that the plants are absolutely safe and reliable.
- Strengthen control over local safety, take a new approach to ensuring the safety of nuclear power plants and strictly monitor compliance with the established requirements.
- Assess the condition of the sites under construction, follow the highest international standards, and suspend construction work if problems are detected.
- Suspend consideration and approval of new sites until the end of the full inspection 3.
Inspection teams were immediately set up, and on March 17, the inspection of the state of the Qin'an-1 nuclear power plant4 began.
NATIONAL FEATURES OF THE PEACEFUL ATOM
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as of July 2011, China has 14 operating power units with a capacity of 11 GW at 4 nuclear power plants - Deibei, Qinshan, Tianwan and Linyao. For comparison, Russia has 32 nuclear reactors (32 GW), the United States has 104 (101.2 GW), France has 58 (63.1 GW), Japan has 50 power units (44.2 GW), and India has 20 (4.3 GW).5
There are 27 reactors (27.2 GW) under construction in China out of 65 under construction worldwide. 11 power units (9.15 GW) are under construction in Russia, 5 (5.5 GW) in South Korea, 5 (3.5 GW) in India, and 1-2 reactors each in other countries.6
The decision to accelerate the development of nuclear energy was made by the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission within the framework of the 10th five-year economic development Plan (2000-2005). Before the Fukushima-1 accident, it was planned to increase the capacity of nuclear power plants to 86 GW by 2020 (according to the Institute for Energy Research under the State Administration for Development and Reform of the People's Republic of China), to 200 GW by 2030 , and to 400 GW by 20507. The final adjustment of these plans related to the accident at Fukushima-1 has not yet been implemented, at the moment Chinese experts believe that the bar can be lowered, but a large-scale
* The World Nuclear Association (WNA) is an international non - governmental organization founded in 2001 to promote nuclear energy and support companies in the industry (editor's note).
The development of nuclear power in China will continue.
Vigorous measures are being taken to build full independent production at all stages of the nuclear fuel cycle. The word jizhuhua (autonomous, independent) appears more often than any other word in the" Long - term Plan for the Development of Nuclear Energy for 2005-2020 " 8.
Currently, the main "workhorses" of the Chinese nuclear power industry are French water - water (light-water) nuclear reactors that use ordinary (light) water under pressure with a capacity of 300-600 MW as a moderator and coolant. At the same time, reactors of this type with a capacity of 300 MW are 80% made exclusively using Chinese technologies, and units with a capacity of 600 MW contain 70% of the Chinese filling.
The advanced light-water reactor of Generation 2+ with a capacity of 1000 MW is based on the technological achievements of the French company AREVA, which develops and manufactures equipment for nuclear power and electricity generation from alternative sources. According to the" Long - term Plan for the Development of nuclear Energy in 2005-2020 " for the 12th (2011-2015) and 13th (2016-2020) five-year plans, the task was set to master French technologies for a 1000 MW pressurized water reactor. In the Chinese modified version, it is called CPR-1000. For this type of reactor, China is able to manufacture only 30% of the components on its own. The first two reactors, units 3 and 4 of the Linyao nuclear power plant, were launched in September 2010 and August 2011, respectively. 9 However, after the Fukushima accident, Beijing decided to abandon further construction of units of this type, which had previously been pinned with considerable hopes. The CPR-1000 era has come to an end.
If China wants to develop independently, it does not abandon the idea of mastering the latest technologies attracted from abroad. In the fourth part of the plan for the development of nuclear energy, which deals with ways to achieve these goals and implement the policy of modernizing technologies, the words "assimilate" and "absorb" are repeated in almost every sentence along with "independence". First of all, we are talking about the American-Japanese AR-1000 reactor and the French EPR-1600.
The French tender offer initially did not include provisions for China's access to AREVA's nuclear industrial secrets, but after lengthy negotiations, it was decided to create a joint venture with a 55% stake in the Chinese company China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC) and 45% in AREVA in order to transfer technology to the Chinese.
In 2005, a decision was made to allocate another site for hosting French reactors - Taishan in Guangdong Province. However, French penetration into the Chinese market may end at 4 blocks of this site.
As a basis for mastering the technology of third-generation reactors in the near future, the Chinese consider the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor, which belonged to the American company Westing-house Company, acquired in 2006 by the Japanese company Toshiba. 4 such power units are being built at the Sanmin and Yangjiang sites.
As for the key point-the transfer of technology, intellectual property rights and localization of production, here the American side initially agreed to all the conditions requested by China. The company is ready to transfer the technology of the AR-1000 reactor to the Chinese side after the construction of the first 4 power units is completed. Westinghouse will work closely with China to improve this technology and expand the capacity of the power unit to 1,400, then 1,700 MW, with the full transfer of rights to the future version of this reactor, SAR - 1400, to China. It is planned to build at least 8 more such reactors at four sites. In the future, their number may increase by another 30 blocks 10.
Creating your own CNP-1000 (Chinese Nuclear Power Unit)is a matter of future prospects, which is likely to be resolved only after mastering the technology of the US - Japanese AR-100011 reactor.
In the even longer term, it is planned to switch to fast neutron reactors. Cooperation with Russia plays an important role in these plans.
WHAT RUSSIA GOT
Russia has built the first and second power units of the Tianwan NPP (TAPP), and in late 2010 an intergovernmental agreement was signed on the construction of the 2nd stage of the NPP by the Russian CJSC Atomstroyexport (units 3 and 4).
In general, despite the fact that the Tianwan site provides for the installation of 8 power units, Russia's further participation in this project and the continuation of cooperation with China in slow (thermal) neutron reactors* is unlikely. In February 2011, it was reported that work on the Chinese units N 5 and N 6 of the TPP has already been actively started at the site, but under the project of another country.
It should be noted that the signing of contracts for the first stage of the Tianwan NPP was a package agreement that included the construction of several stages of a uranium enrichment plant in China, a commitment of China
* Slow (thermal) neutron reactor - any type of nuclear reactor in which the vast majority of fission of nuclear fuel occurs by capturing slow (thermal) neutrons, which use moderators (water, graphite, heavy water) that reduce the energy of neutrons (approx. ed.).
purchase guaranteed volumes of uranium enrichment services in Russia, as well as the construction of TNPP units. Although at the official level, the parties do not recognize the existence of a direct link between the implementation of agreements on enrichment issues and the construction of new power reactors.
The second stage of construction of the Tianwan blocks is being implemented as part of a package agreement on the construction of fast neutron reactors in China; this provision is also reflected in the official documentation. At the same time, contracts are concluded in strict accordance with the traditional Chinese approach to the development of nuclear industry technologies. All the components of power units that can be manufactured domestically are made by the Chinese themselves. If the participation of the Chinese side in the construction of the first stage of the TAPP was relatively small, then the 3rd and 4th power units will contain about 60% of the Chinese filling. In fact, Russia will have only their nuclear skeleton.
Nevertheless, there are areas of nuclear energy where the potential for cooperation is still far from exhausted.
One of these areas may be Russian fast neutron reactors*. The development of China's nuclear power industry is proceeding in accordance with a three-stage plan, according to which the second stage will be the transition to the use of BN-type reactors as the basis of the country's nuclear power industry.
The first step on this path was the Chinese Experimental Fast Reactor(CEFR).
If initially this project was considered as an import of Russian technology for a fast-neutron research reactor, then following the results of implementation, we can only talk about Russian assistance to China in the construction of the reactor. Most of the work was carried out by Chinese workers and enterprises. Following Russia's extensive assistance in building a fast-neutron research reactor, China has shown interest in our BN industrial reactor production technology.
Negotiations are currently underway to sign a contract for the implementation of a technical project for two units of the Sanmin NPP with BN-800 reactors. The Sanmin site in Fujian Province is designed for 4 power units, they are supposed to be equipped with BN-800 reactors made by the Russian Atomstroyexport. Construction is scheduled to start in 2013 and complete the first two of them in 2018.
At this stage, the parties have a number of disagreements on certain provisions of the contract for the implementation of the technical project. The signing of the intergovernmental agreement and contract was expected after the meeting of the heads of government of the Russian Federation and the PRC in November 2010, but difficulties in the negotiation process pushed the date indefinitely. China quite unexpectedly began to persuade Russia to sign a contract for the implementation of a technical project without concluding an intergovernmental agreement at the highest level, which contradicts Russian interests and the accepted norms and standards applied when concluding such contracts.
This approach of the Chinese demonstrates the general line of development of the country's nuclear power industry ( and not only it) - offensive borrowing of foreign technologies. The absence of an intergovernmental agreement would give the contract a commercial character and remove state control over the implementation of the project.
In parallel, the Chinese plan to create their own fast neutron reactor, the Chinese Demonstration Fast Reactor(CDFR), and start its construction in 2017. According to the China National Nuclear Corporation, the first Chinese prototype fast neutron reactor was connected to the power grid in July 201112.
THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE TO THE ENERGY ATOM
In the wake of the Fukushima-1 disaster, a number of proposals for revising the country's nuclear policy were made by Chinese officials and regulatory reports.
As noted above, it was decided to curtail the large-scale construction of second-generation CPR-1000 reactors and concentrate on the development of the third generation (AR-1000 reactors and all its Chinese derivatives). In addition, it was stated that it was intended to review a number of future sites and, if possible, avoid building nuclear power plants in close proximity to the sea, which is not easy in some areas, since the coastal zone of the PRC is the most economically developed and therefore consumes the most energy.13
There was also a discussion about the possibility of building a future China without nuclear power. But what alternatives can the country have?
In China, almost all electricity (about 95%) is generated from coal and water resources. In 2010, the country's generating capacity reached 962 GW, of which 707 GW was accounted for by hydrocarbons (coal, a few percent - oil and gas), 213 GW-hydroelectric power plants, 11 GW-nuclear power plants and 31 GW-wind installations. At the same time, significant capacities of coal-fired thermal power plants are being taken out of operation due to their obsolescence and large environmental damage (71 GW, since 2006) .14
In 2008, dependence on imported oil already exceeded the psychological threshold of 50%, and now the country's strategic goal is to at least slow down the growth of this indicator.15
China is trying to make the most of the country's water resources, but even with several full-flowing rivers, they are not enough for the rest of the world.
* The fast neutron reactor operates without a moderator, the advantage of such a reactor is that the uranium-238 nuclei, absorbing neutrons, turn into plutonium nuclei, which can then be used as nuclear fuel (editor's note).
the location does not allow us to provide energy to the south of the country that needs it. China also uses renewable energy sources better than anyone else in the world (in 2011, China surpassed Germany and came out on the 1st place in the world in terms of investment in "clean" energy 16), but, as Xiang Sho, a professor at Guangxi University, noted in an interview with the author, such sources cannot cover fast-growing queries.
The only option is coal - fired energy, but this is a path that China has already taken and knows well the troubles associated with it. In addition to the deterioration of the environmental situation (in 2009, carbon dioxide emissions (wt) in China, it reached 7.7 million tons, or 25.3% of the global volume), Chinese railway capacity (2nd place in the world 17) is half loaded with coal transportation from the northern provinces to the South.
In addition, coal mines are also far from safe in terms of human casualties. According to official statistics, about 3 thousand people die in coal mines in China every year. However, according to Chinese trade unions, these figures are underestimated by at least half. Accidents with human casualties have become so common that an explosion with fewer than ten victims is not covered in the newspapers*.
Thus, the PRC simply has no alternative.
ATOMIC LESSON OF GLASNOST
The way the Chinese system of nuclear industry regulation is organized, even the Chinese themselves call the word luanqibazao (complete mess), in other words, "mess". China still does not have comprehensive nuclear legislation, and the existing regulatory documents were adopted 20 - 30 years ago and do not meet the requirements of the time. The three main regulatory documents of the Chinese atomic industry-HAF 001, HAF 501 and HAF 002-have been in force since 1986, 1987 and 1993, respectively. Moreover, these regulatory documents are less authoritative in China compared to the guidelines of the National Development and Reform Commission, the body responsible for the development of the nuclear industry, among other things.
In total, at least 10 government organizations, whose functions overlap many times, are responsible for the safety of nuclear power plants. This includes the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Public Security, the Asset Management Commission, and many others (from a conversation with Professor Yun Zhou, a fellow in the Department of Nuclear Safety at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Nuclear Safety).
The National Nuclear Safety Administration of China, which serves as one of the regulatory agencies in the nuclear industry, has a staff of just over 300 people. 18 Legislative reforms were long overdue, and the Fukushima accident only served as a catalyst. China has announced that it is expanding its supervisory staff, considering establishing a higher supervisory authority for the country's nuclear power industry in the future, and is ready to turn Luanqibazao into touto-wushidao (an orderly and thoughtful approach).
If all the technical measures described above are more or less solvable for China, then there is a problem that requires much greater changes than eliminating the shortcomings of the legislative framework or choosing a reactor technology. We are talking about public support for the country's nuclear projects.
It is extremely difficult to implement a nuclear program without the support of the general population, even for China. But if in most countries with nuclear power, such support is based on public awareness of the advantages of nuclear power plants, taking into account their shortcomings, then in China the key point is complete ignorance of people. While in other countries, the emphasis is on developing a system of warning and informing the public about emergency situations at nuclear facilities, in China, huge efforts were made to ensure that no information was leaked.
Before the Fukushima disaster, the local population was usually informed about the construction of nuclear power plants after the decision was made at the highest level, and ordinary citizens usually could not change or at least somehow influence the situation. Moreover, earlier people really saw more advantages than disadvantages in the construction of the station. Nuclear power plants mean new jobs, an increase in the economic level of the region, and lower electricity prices. Every Chinese thought at this level, even without understanding the basic principles of the operation of a nuclear reactor.
Here is a scene that was observed after the Fukushima accident in stores in Nanning, the administrative center of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. There was a queue of about 30 people with 6 or 7 packages of iodized salt, and some Chinese boasted that after the Daibei nuclear power plant incident, they still had a couple of bags of such salt and were already prepared for the consequences of Fukushima. What they didn't realize was that iodide salt wouldn't replace the iodine pills needed in radiation therapy to prevent thyroid cancer.
But now the situation is complicated-
* For more information, see: Chen Qian (China), Prokofieva L. M. "Black gold" of China // Asia and Africa Today, 2011, N 3; Chudodeev Yu. V. Russia-China and Partnership Prospects / / Asia and Africa Today, 2011, N 10 (editor's note).
The situation was different, and the country's leadership came to the conclusion that it was necessary to educate the population in the field of nuclear knowledge. Just a week after the Fukushima disaster, China's Central Television launched a series of TV commercials about nuclear power. Every regional newspaper, not to mention the national ones, has published articles explaining "why this can't happen in China." Zhang Guobao, Head of the State Administration of Energy Affairs, gave an extensive interview in which he described the differences between the technology of Fukushima-1 nuclear reactors and Chinese plants, and reaffirmed China's commitment to continue its policy of developing nuclear power in the future.19
The full safety and reliability inspection of the operating nuclear power plants, which was provided for in March 2011 by the State Council of the People's Republic of China, was completed in June. All 14 operating Chinese nuclear power plants passed this stress test.
As part of the adjustment of plans for the development of nuclear energy, the following measures are planned::
- Reallocation of part of the sites intended for second-generation reactors for the construction of third-generation reactors.
- More thorough and comprehensive consideration of sites for the construction of future nuclear power plants, taking into account the threat of tsunamis and earthquakes.
- Carrying out additional inspections and inspections of proper safety assurance for the construction and operation of nuclear power plants.
- Slowing down the pace of construction and commissioning of new nuclear power plants.
- Reform of the Chinese supervisory apparatus in the nuclear industry and streamlining of nuclear legislation.
- Working with the public at all levels, maintaining a positive image of the Chinese nuclear industry in the eyes of the Chinese.
If at the end of 2010 the target for the share of energy generated at nuclear power plants by 2020 was 86 GW, 20 then after what happened in Japan, the figure will be lowered, but it will still remain significantly higher than the originally announced 40 GW.
Thus, we are not talking about curtailing Chinese projects in the field of nuclear energy, but about taking additional security measures, which will lead to a certain increase in the cost of these projects. In general, Beijing's policy of developing nuclear power in order to increase its share in the country's energy system remains unchanged
CHINA IN THE GLOBAL NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY MARKET
The task of mastering new technologies to strengthen China's position in the global market of nuclear industry technologies is also not removed.
Although China's ability to compete with existing exporting countries is limited, it is eager to seize every opportunity to enter the nuclear market and supply its technologies. Losing out in the experience of building nuclear power plants and often in the level of technology, China tries to play at a low price, while some countries make a choice in favor of China, based on geopolitical considerations.
In Pakistan, China has completed projects, as well as agreements signed in 2009 and 2010 on the construction of three more power units in Pakistan21. In addition to Pakistan, some African countries are already showing interest in Chinese nuclear technologies.
China is looking for opportunities to build nuclear power plants in Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand, making these countries a serious competitor to the Russian Atomstroyexport.
This will be discussed in the final part of the article.
(The ending follows)
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2 Los Angeles Times, 28.06.2011.
3 Heneng xinwen (China, magazine), March 2011
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9 Alstom China. Ling Ao Unit 4 Nuclear Power Plant Enters Commercial Operation. 9.08.20011 - http://www.alstom.com/power/news-and-events/press-releases/ling-ao-Unit-4-nuclear-power- plant-enters-commercial-operation/
10 World Nuclear Association. Op. cit.
11 Hedian zhongchanchi fazhan guihua (2005-2020 nannies). Edict op.
12 Russian Atomic Community. China's first prototype fast-neutron reactor is online. 21.07.2011 -http://www.atomic-energy.ru/news/2011/07/21/24525
13 Zhongguo guojia Haiyang jiu (China State Oceanic Administration website), March 2011 - www.soa.gov.cn.
14 World Nuclear Association. Op. cit.
15 2008 nyan zhongguo shiyu jinchukou zhuanquang fengxi. Annual report of Zhongguo shiyuhua gongjituang gongsa (SINOPEC). 2008
16 China leads the way in investment in clean energy // Business magazine about China ChinaPRO( China, in Russian), 4.04.2011 -http://www.chinapro.ru/rubrics/l/6025; World Economic Outlook Database, April 2011. 5. Report for Selected Countries and Subjects-https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc7key-0AonYZs4MzlZbdFFlQW00ckYzOG0yWkZqcUh nNDVlSWc&hl=en#gid-1
17 ChinaPRO Business Magazine, 2010, January 15 http://www.chinapro.ru/rubrics/l/3315/
18 Zhongguo Zhengfuwang (Chinese Government website), April 2011 - www.gov.cn.
19 Zhongguo heneng xingye sehui (China Atomic Energy Association website), March 2011 - www.china-nea.cn
20 According to the assessment of the Institute for Energy Research under the State Administration for Development and Reform of the People's Republic of China, 2011, January 27.
21 Nuclear Power in Pakistan. World Nuclear Association (WNA). November 2010 - http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/infl08.html
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