Construction work has started a month ahead of schedule at the site of China’s Haiyang nuclear power plant in Shandong province on the country’s east coast. The 2200 MW facility is scheduled to come on line in 2014.

Shandong Nuclear Power, Westinghouse Electric and Shaw Group are all working on the facility, which will have two separate plants, both based on Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactor. It is expected to take about three months to prepare the ground for the foundations. Haiyang is the second of two starts in the region under a $5.3 billion contract won by Westinghouse last year to provide China with four AP1000 reactors. Excavation at Sanmen, also on China’s east coast, started in February. It has been reported that in June Westinghouse CEO Aris Candris was told by Chinese officials that they wanted one hundred AP1000s operating or under construction by 2020.

•EdF has become an investor in China’s nuclear programme, finalising an agreement with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Company (CGNPC) to construct and operate two nuclear power plants in the country.

The French utility and CGNPC are to create a joint venture company – Guangdong Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company Limited (TNPC) – that will build and operate the two EPR reactors, at Taishan in the province of Guangdong. EDF will hold a 30% stake in the company for 50 years, the maximum permitted for a joint venture in China.

The Taishan EPR will be modelled on the EPR reactor being built by EdF at Flamanville, France. Preliminary work at the Taishan site started in late 2007 and the first concrete pouring is scheduled for autumn 2009. The first unit is scheduled for commissioning at the end of 2013 and the second in 2015.

Alstom recently announced that CGNPC had awarded it a r200 million contract to supply the complete turbine island for Taishan. The order follows a r300 million order booked by Alstom and two Chinese partners in early 2008 for the supply of two 1750 MW Arabelle turbine generator packages for the plant.

French nuclear engineering firm Areva is supplying the nuclear island for Taishan under a contract signed in late 2007.