There are currently 60 nuclear reactors under construction worldwide with nearly half of these projects being built in China. There is no doubt that East Asia is emerging as a leader in the international nuclear community where China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) are playing major roles as a result of their aggressive new plant build programs. Both China and South Korea present very interesting case studies where the former is rapidly building up domestic expertise in nuclear construction while the latter has gone one step further in capitalizing successfully on a nuclear export business. Both countries have relied heavily on external commercial support in building up this expertise. In the case of South Korea, the “Koreanization” of nuclear power took place in the 1980’s and 1990’s, first with a large number of Western builds and ultimately a complete indigenization of pressurized water reactor technology through a technology transfer with Combustion Engineering. The Chinese domestic nuclear program has been largely influenced by Western vendors as well; however, there has been significantly less emphasis on exporting the technology up to now as they master the imported technologies for their domestic program. The recent AP1000 technology transfer between Westinghouse Electric Company and China has opened up unique transnational learning opportunities between the United States and China where the lessons learned building the first AP1000 plants in China will be shared with the two U.S. utilities now embarking on new plant construction at the Vogtle and V.C. Summer sites, in Georgia and South Carolina, respectively. This talk will review both the historical experiences of exporting nuclear technology to the ROK and China, as well as the progress being made by these countries in absorbing the technology. Further, the AP1000 passive plant technology will be summarized as an example of the general trend for future designs in response to the reactor accidents at Fukushima Dai-ichi in March 2011. Finally, the advanced construction techniques being used to build AP1000 plants in both the U.S. and China will be highlighted along with their benefits in delivering new plants on schedule.
About the speaker: Dr Matzie is the former Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for Westinghouse Electric Company and was responsible for all Westinghouse research and development undertakings and advanced nuclear plant development. He is also on the Board of PBMR Pty Ltd. and Chairman of the Board Technical Committee. In that role, he assures proper oversight of the design, safety, licensing, research and development, and quality aspects of the PBMR enterprise.
Previously, Dr Matzie was responsible for the development, licensing, detailed engineering, project management, and component manufacturing of new Westinghouse light water reactors and was also the Executive in charge of Westinghouse replacement steam generator projects and dry spent-fuel-canister fabrication projects. He became a Senior Vice President in 2000, when Westinghouse purchased the nuclear businesses of ABB. His career has been devoted primarily to the development of advanced nuclear systems and advanced fuel cycles, and he is the author of more than 120 technical papers and reports on these subjects.