Canadian contractor SNC-Lavalin is to enter into a consortium with the China National Nuclear Corporation and the Shanghai Electric Company.
The new group plans to develop, market and build the Canadian flagship reactor, known as the Advanced Fuel CANDU (AFCR). This could lead to the construction of the world’s first two AFCRs in China, followed by others in China and around the world.
SNC-Lavalin note that "the market potential for AFCR technology in China is considerable".
The particular selling point of the AFCR is that each unit can use spent fuel from four light-water reactors (LWRs) to generate 6 million MWh of power without needing additional natural uranium fuel.
This would be enough electricity to power 4 million Chinese homes, and also displace 6 million tonnes of carbon emissions that would have been generated by coal-fired power stations, the equivalent of removing 1 million cars from the road.
China has more than 33 LWR nuclear power reactors in operation and another 23 under construction.
Sandy Taylor, president of power at SNC-Lavalin, said: "This is a game changer in the nuclear industry, and a great endorsement of our expertise and CANDU nuclear technology from the largest nuclear market in the world."
SNC-Lavalin created CANDU Energy using technology it bought from the Canadian government for $15m in 2011.
Earlier this year an SNC-Lavalin joint venture was awarded a $2.8bn nuclear power station contract.
SNC-Lavalin said: "Canada’s nuclear sector directly contributes US$4.57bn a year to the economy, employs more than 30,000 highly trained and specialised people and creates an additional 30,000 jobs indirectly through contracting."
Images via SNC-Lavalin