Last month the United States made the controversial decision to blacklist one of China’s most significant state-owned nuclear power companies. According to an announcement on the United States Federal Register, China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) and three of its subsidiaries were placed on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s “entity list”, meaning that CGN will no longer be able to obtain technology, parts or materials from the United States, unless they are able to secure a (very rarely-granted) license to do so. This move comes in response to accusations that Chinese nuclear power companies including CGN have been stealing United States technology and misappropriating it for military use. CGN is a considerable force in the Chinese nuclear industry, with nine running nuclear power plants with 28 reactors mostly centered around the Guangdong province, making the blacklisting of the company a real blow to the Chinese energy sector. According to reporting by the Asia Times, a U.S. Commerce Department probe “concluded that the advanced US technology and components for civilian use transferred to the Shenzhen-based nuclear energy juggernaut had fallen into the clutches of the People’s Liberation Army.” While the particulars of the Commerce Department probe have not been made public, it has been reported that the issue likely centers around Small Modular Reactors technology. The compact reactors, built by Pennsylvania’s Westinghouse Electric Company, “could be instrumental to CGN’s partnership with shipbuilding SOEs to trial what is called ‘floating nuclear reactors’ to drift in the South China Sea to light up reclaimed islands and power military installations there” The Asia times goes on to say that “rumors are also rife as to how China can leverage its experience and talent pool of civilian nuclear technology to design and construct its first shipborne reactor to propel the future super-carriers of the Chinese Navy.
Oil Price 7th Sept 2019 read more »