Technicians control an automatic welding operation of a nuclear reactor at the Ningde nuclear power plant in Fujian province.
China moved one step closer to merging two of its nuclear power developers, as the country drives through consolidation in many of its State-owned enterprises, including the railways, shipping, nonferrous metals, construction materials and steel sectors.
The Shanghai-listed units of China National Nuclear Corp, a holding company for reactor design and technology, and China Nuclear Engineering Corporation Group, a company that focuses on construction, said in regulatory filings on Monday that a strategic reorganization of the two nuclear giants is underway.
The units said the reorganization requires regulatory approval, but does not involve major assets of the listed companies and would not affect normal operations.
Joseph Jacobelli, a senior analyst of Asian utilities and infrastructure at Bloomberg Intelligence, said the nuclear sector plays a significant role in the country's advanced manufacturing exports, and the merger means not only streamlining the SOEs, but also helping China's nuclear companies better export their technology to the global market.
He said the combination would be a joint force with a better share of the international market.
Jacobelli added that the plan is to boost internal efficiencies in the country's nuclear sector and external competitiveness.
China suspended approving new nuclear power plants after Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. However, nuclear power generation in recent years, especially in the first two months of the year, continued to see sharp growth.
Jacobelli said China's nuclear energy developers are believed to be commissioning many more reactors during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), because nuclear power is a key source of clean energy along with hydropower.
Installed nuclear capacity more than doubled to 27.17 gigawatts in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) and is expected to double again by 2020 to 58 GW.
Being the world's fastest-growing nuclear market, China said it would further cut industrial overcapacity and introduce market-based reform, in an attempt to accelerate restructuring of the nation's bloated SOE sector.
It also vowed to further expand its nuclear sector to reduce its reliance on coal and help achieve its climate-change commitments.
China will develop nuclear power in a safe and highly efficient way, Premier Li Keqiang said in the Government Work Report delivered during the fifth session of the 12th National People's Congress on March 5.
Wang Shoujun, former chairman of China Nuclear Engineering Corporation Group, has taken over as CNNC chairman, after former chairman Sun Qin stepped down on reaching retirement age last year.
CNNC is principally engaged in the development, investment, construction, operation and management of nuclear power projects. It is also involved in the research of technology, for nuclear power operational safety and related technical services and the consultation business.