Within the cavernous factory of Dongfang Heavy Machinery Company (dfhm), a state-owned firm based in Guangdong province, lies what looks like a suit of armour built for a mis-shapen giant. In fact, they are parts built to contain something even more fearsome—nuclear reactors and the high-pressure, high-temperature steam that they produce. Some are still being worked on. Some are almost ready to head off, by barge, to sites along the southern coast where China is expanding its nuclear-power industry with greater ambition than any other country in the world. In 1996, with the help of Framatome, a French firm with a lot of nuclear history, China built a reactor at Ling Ao, 60km (37 miles) from Hong Kong. Part of the deal was that Framatome would share its know-how. It helped a local firm that had previously made boilers learn how to make the hulking metre-thick metal vessels that can safely contain a nuclear reaction. That firm became dfhm. As well as the main reactor vessels, it also now makes the steam generators which turn the nuclear heat into something which can drive turbines and make electricity. Zou Jie, a dfhm executive, says his firm’s products are now competitive with Framatome’s.
Economist 2nd Jan 2020 read more »