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SNC-Lavalin, China one step closer to building next-gen CANDU power plants for Shanghai

China’s national nuclear power corp. says SNC-Lavalin will conduct “pre-project work” for a pair of 700-megawatt advanced-CANDU reactors in Shanghai.

Jason Unrau Montreal QC

Since China decided our beef and pork were desirable again at the beginning of November, lifting its embargoes in the midst of an ongoing diplomatic spat with Canada, the communist regime never stopped approving of Canada’s nuclear technology.

On Monday, SNC-Lavalin announced that China National Nuclear Power Corporation had chosen the Québec-based engineering firm to do “pre-project work” to build a pair of 700-megawatt “advanced heavy water” CANDU reactors for Shanghai Electric Group.

These are similar modules to the advanced generation CANDU reactors the Ontario provincial government shelved ten years ago for Darlington Nuclear Generating Station, due to a purported $26 billion price tag.

SNC-Lavalin spokesperson Ken Chiu would not reveal the value of the pre-project contract with CNNP, but compared a dual reactor-build to the $12.7 billion refurbishment of four CANDU reactors at Darlington; the largest being 900 mW.

“I can’t say the dollar value of the (advanced heavy water reactor) pre-project work, but the duration is about six months so that may provide some sense of size of the immediate job,” writes Chiu in an email to The Post Millennial.

Chiu’s email cites a 2012 Canadian Nuclear Association report on domestic economic spinoff of industry activities, at home and abroad.

According to the nuclear association’s report, “building a pair of Enhanced CANDU 6 (EC6) reactors outside of Canada supports over 2,200 person-years of direct, high-wage work and over $2.5 billion in economic activity here in Canada.”

But Chiu writes, “It’s too early to be able to conceive the projected total value in building the two reactors at this point.”

In June 2011, Conservatives under Prime Minister Stephen Harper sold Atomic Energy of Canada Limited’s CANDU reactor technology and intellectual property to SNC-Lavalin for $15 million in a much-criticized deal.

Before Harper sold what’s now Candu Energy Inc. to the Québec-based global engineering firm, its forebear Atomic Energy had already built pair of CANDU reactors in China’s Zhejiang province, finishing the second for Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant in 2003.

China’s national nuclear power developer operates several reactors and is Qinshan’s majority owner, while SNC-Lavalin is the exclusive licensee of the CANDU technology to CNNP.

In 2016, CNNP formed the joint venture with Candu Energy “to develop, market and construct the Advanced Fuel Candu Reactor”, or advanced heavy water modules capable of reusing fuel from earlier-generation, light water reactors.

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