China on Tuesday signed deals with the US-based Westinghouse Electric Co. to build four nuclear power plants in the country and transfer core technologies for third-generation reactors.
The deal between China's State Nuclear Power Technology Corp. Ltd. (SNPTC) and China National Technical Import and Export Corp and the US firm was "a great achievement in international nuclear industrial cooperation", Chinese Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan said at the signing ceremony.
"It will help promote China's nuclear industry and bilateral cooperation in the energy and trade sectors and also contribute to the development of the world's nuclear industry," Zeng said.
The amount of money involved was not disclosed.
The first reactor adopting the third-generation AP1000 technology would be built at Sanmen in east China's Zhejiang Province and put into commercial operation at the end of 2013, Wang Binghua, board chairman of SNPTC, said.
"It will also be the first nuclear station using the AP1000 technologies in the world," said Wang. New reactors would also be built at Haiyang in east China's Shandong province.
The AP1000 technologies are superior as they use less cable and piping, cutting costs and reducing the need for large cooling towers and other equipment. They are also considered safer.
China now has 11 nuclear reactors in operation. The nation's installed capacity of nuclear power stands at 8 million kilowatts, accounting for merely one per cent of the total capacity of electric power, lagging far behind the world's average level.
China is expected to have an installed nuclear power capacity of 40 million kilowatts by 2020. It is the world's second-largest power consumer after the US.