The international engineering group Sandvik AB still sees the development of nuclear power as one of its important business opportunities in China, according to the company’s president and chief executive officer. That’s in spite of the nation’s current suspension of approvals for nuclear projects.
“I personally believe nuclear can be a very good and safe energy source for China to reduce its development costs in the long term,” Sandvik’s Olof Faxander told China Daily on Thursday.
Sandvik provides steam generator tubing and nuclear fuel cladding tubes for both pressurized and boiling water reactors for nuclear stations.
Since 2009, the Swedish industry group has provided parts to Shanghai Electric Nuclear Equipment Co Ltd and Harbin Electric Nuclear Equipment Co Ltd. Those deliveries will be concluded by 2013 and are valued at more than $300 million.
China’s State Council suspended the procedure for nuclear project approvals on March 16, five days after an earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear crisis in Japan.
However, Japan’s nuclear facilities are old and use technologies developed in 1960s. Modern technology has moved on since they were built, providing safer power plants.
Last month, Lin Chengge, a senior expert at the State Nuclear Power Technology Corp Ltd, told China Daily that new nuclear power projects may soon be approved, probably in August, when the nation’s nuclear safety plan is issued.
Regarding the suspension, Faxander said: “I think the good thing is they (the Chinese government) will have a project safety review on current projects.”
He added that nuclear power will be important for China’s future.
According to the China Electricity Council, China had a total of 10.82 gigawatts (gW) of nuclear capacity at the end of last year. It’s expected that the nation will add 12 gW every year in the near term, despite Japan’s recent experience.
Sandvik’s annual sales growth in China was more than 26 percent on average over the past eight years. Its sales in the country exceeded 5 billion yuan ($769 million) last year, accounting for 6.8 percent of the group’s global business.
This made China the fourth-largest market for Sandvik. The largest market, the United States, accounted for 12.1 percent of the group’s total sales.
“For continuous growth, we will look for opportunities, and we’ll find new ways of growing in China,” said Faxander.
In addition to nuclear power, Sandvik is also acting as an upstream provider for China’s wind- and solar-energy companies.
“Economic growth drives urbanization in China, and enormous numbers of people are moving into the city,” said the CEO, adding that the demand for energy will be high, which will support development of the engineering industry.