BEIJING – Growing at a frenzied pace, the Chinese nuclear industry was eagerly waiting to ink deals that will allow it a place among global leaders in the sector, by exporting homegrown atomic technology to a third country.
At the ongoing China International Exhibition on Nuclear Power Industry in Beijing, which was ongoing on Friday, Chinese nuclear firms are asserting their right to a place in the sun, amid uncertainty in other countries and tough times for some of the sector’s leading companies.
“With the strategy proposed by our leaders, our nuclear energy will occupy a very important place in the world,” Wang Tianju, from China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation (CNEIC), told EFE.
Present at the forum were several Chinese heavyweights from the sector, including China National Nuclear Corporation, and China General Nuclear Power Group, which are handling and promoting projects in Europe and Latin America.
Chinese firms in the sector have already launched themselves on foreign soil and taken projects with homegrown technology to countries like Pakistan, but complain they still encounter cultural or political reticence in many parts of the world.
“The big question is: when will we sell a Chinese reactor (to a developed country)? That is the barrier,” admitted a source from the Chinese atomic sector, who asked not to be named.
The solution could well be in sight if China manages to sign a highly-awaited agreement with Argentina to build two plants in the South American country, as desired by Beijing authorities.
Eduardo Aymerich, managing director of Spanish Nuclear Group for Cooperation, opines it is evident that “China is the driving force behind the current nuclear industry.”
“In China, they are building over half the reactors in present-day world and I think it is believed that Chinese tech is as valuable and powerful as any other,” he adds.
Although the past year has not seen much progress in Chinese international nuclear projects, Aymerich rules it out due to lack of trust.
He explains it is mostly the result of the sociopolitical situation in countries they are trying to set up in, citing change of government in Argentina, the win of the “Brexit” vote in the United Kingdom, and instability in Turkey as events that are slowing down China’s growth in the overseas market.
“We are facing several difficulties in our internationalization, but we will overcome them,” remarks Lyu Chengcheng, from China Huaneng Group.