Russia not to pay penalty to China for delays at Tianwan NPP

Publish date: November 10, 2004

On October 19, the acting chief of the Russian Nuclear Regulatory Andrey Malyshev visited Tianwan NPP’s construction site in China.

The first reactor was scheduled for launch back in April and Russia might face the penalty reaching $200m, Kommersant daily reported.

The contract for the construction of Tianwan nuclear power plant was signed in 1997. It stipulates that Russia will build two power units with total power output of 2,000 megawatts. According to Mr. Malyshev, in the nearest future the Chinese part must announce a tender on the construction of two more nuclear power units. The Russian part is studying the conditions of the tender and soon will make the decision concerning its participation.

The first power unit of Tianwan nuclear power plant is likely to be put into operation in two months, Mr. Malyshev said. The earlier tests revealed 3300 serious defects or “nonconformances”. However, this is not the record. For example, while testing the units built by the Electricite de France, 50,000 nonconformances were found and the start-up was delayed for two years.

Regarding the quality of the Russian equipment, Malyshev said it was controlled not only by the Atomstroyexport, but also by the Rostekhnadzor inspection organisation. He believes the quality control could be lost during inappropriate storage conditions or installation. The Rostekhnadzor agreed with Chinese partners and sent its specialists to the site for the whole period of the construction.

The Atomstroyexport is already late for several months with the reactor unit launch. Some experts estimate China could demand from $40m to $200m penalty. Mr. Malyshev, however, hopes to avoid the penalty by setting a new start-up date together with the Chinese partners, Kommersant reported.