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China picked Toshiba Corp.'s Westinghouse Electric Co. for the biggest international nuclear reactor contract in history, trumping Areva SA for a project worth about $5.3 billion.
Westinghouse will build two reactors at Sanmen in Zhejiang province and two at Yangjiang in Guangdong, the U.S. Department of Energy said. U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and Ma Kai, head of China's National Development and Reform Commission, signed the agreement in Beijing today.
China becomes the first customer for Monroeville, Pennsylvania-based Westinghouse's latest technology. The U.S. company, bought by Japan's Toshiba for $4.16 billion in October, gains an edge in bidding to supply as many as 26 more reactors by 2020 as China turns to atomic energy to cut coal pollution and reduce reliance on oil.
The construction of the nuclear reactors will start in early 2007, Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Shaw Group Inc., a Westinghouse partner on the project, said in a statement today. Shaw Group owns a 20 percent stake in Westinghouse.
The four reactors will be Westinghouse-designed AP 1000 units, with capacity of 1,100 megawatts each, the department said in the statement. The plants should start operating by 2013, Westinghouse President Stephen Tritch said.
Westinghouse agreed to transfer technology to China that could be used in the construction of more nuclear reactors in China during the next 15 to 20 years, Bodman said.
"The Chinese were very demanding,'' he said at the State Guest House, where the accord was signed. "Chairman Ma and the NDRC were very demanding,'' he said without elaborating.