China National Nuclear Power Company (CNNPC) - a major player in China's nuclear industry - is planning an initial public offering (IPO) of its shares on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The listing would provide funds for investing in new nuclear power plant projects.
CNNPC was formed in late 2011 as part of the restructuring of state-owned parent China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC). It is responsible for operating CNNC's existing nuclear power plants and for constructing new ones. CNNPC currently operates nine nuclear power reactors with a combined capacity of 6.49 GWe, with a further ten units under construction with a capacity of 10.28 GWe.
The company has yet to disclose the size or timing of its IPO, but said that the money raised from it would be used to fund five nuclear power projects worth some 173.5 billion yuan ($27.3 billion).
The Chinese government requires companies in heavily-polluting industries such as steel, mining, chemicals and petrochemicals to pass environmental inspections conducted by the country's ministry of environmental protection before submitting IPO applications to the China Securities Regulatory Commission. An official from the ministry's department of nuclear safety management told the Xinhua news agency that, although nuclear is not included among these industries, the ministry had requested that the listing obtain the same environmental approval.
The ministry said in a 5 June statement that it had inspected CNNPC's operating nuclear plants and those under construction, and had verified that they meet relevant environmental protection regulations. However, CNNPC's listing still requires final approval from the securities regulator.
Following the accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011, China decided to stop approvals for new nuclear power plant projects until a safety plan was in place. Power generation continued at reactors in operation at the time, as did construction of the 25 units then approved. Two of those have since been completed and come into operation, bringing China's total of operating nuclear power reactors to 15.
Last week, China took a step towards full resumption of its nuclear power program with preliminary approval of the post-Fukushima nuclear safety plan.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News