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Thursday, 15 June 2017

China in talks with Egypt to provide small-scale nuclear reactors

Will Rosatom have competition in Egypt? The Chinese pushing the sale of “new, small-scale nuclear reactor designs that could be used in isolated regions, on ships and even aircraft as part of an ambitious plan to wrest control of the global nuclear market,” according to a report by Reuters’ David Stanway. State-owned China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) is set to launch a small modular reactor (SMR) called the “Nimble Dragon” within weeks, Stanway says. CNNC says it has been in discussions with a number of countries, including Egypt, as potential partners. SMRs are “a little bigger than a bus” and create “less toxic waste and can be built in a single factory,” compared to large scale reactors that cost upward of USD 10 bn per unit, more than 10 times the projected cost of SMRs. “‘Small-scale reactors are a new trend in the international development of nuclear power – they are safer and they can be used more flexibly,’ said Chen Hua, vice president of the China Nuclear New Energy Corporation, a subsidiary of CNNC.”

Keep it in perspective: SMRs power microwave ovens, nuclear plants power cities. Anything under about 500 MW counts as an SMR, while each of four reactors at the initial Daba’a facility Rosatom wants to build in Egypt is expected to generate at least 1.2 GW. China is looking at SMRs as loss leader of a form, having offered in January 2016 to build a 1 GW nuclear plant at Daba’a at a cost of about USD 5 bn.

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