China has yet to decide an exact date for issuing tenders of its four new nuclear power generators, but the winner is at this stage very likely to be either US-based Westinghouse Electric Co Ltd, or French company Areva, or Russian firm AtomStroyExport (ASE).
"The tender documents and proposals have already been approved by the State Council, and now we have presented them to the National Development and Reform Commission for final approval," Yu Jianfeng, director of the Nuclear Power Department of China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC), which is working to offer the tender.
There's no specific timetable for the bidding yet, Yu added. This is the country's first bidding for nuclear power projects which is open to foreign companies.
China is expected to invite foreign companies only to bid for four 1,000-megawatt pressurized-water nuclear power facilities by the end of this year.
The winner will be in charge of the design and construction of the four generators, two located in Sanmen, East China's Zhejiang Province and the other two in Yangjiang, South China's Guangdong Province.
Several foreign companies including Westinghouse, Areva, ASE, Japan's Mitsubishi, France's Alstom, and the Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd, have been scrambling for the multi-billion dollar contracts.
Yu said: "The winner should be either Westinghouse, Areva or ASE."
Yu said China wants to adopt the latest, third-generation reactor technology, which it has been unable to develop itself.
France-based Areva, which has been promoting its third-generation reactor technology built by its Famatone subsidiary, seems confident.
"We are very well prepared," Reme de Preneuf, chief representative of Areva for nuclear business in China, told China Business Weekly last week.
"We do not know the precise requirements, but we are in a fairly good position," he said.
Areva has won the