BEIJING, Jan 29 (Reuters) - French utility EDF expects the first of two nuclear power plants under construction in Taishan, southern China, to be completed by year-end, a new delay for the project.
Chinese utility China General Nuclear (CGN) and state-controlled EDF are in a 70-30 joint venture to build two 1650 megawatt EPR reactors designed by French nuclear group Areva in Taishan.
The two reactors had been slated to be connected to the grid in 2013 and 2014 respectively, but Nuclear Intelligence Weekly wrote in March that according to a China National Energy Administration presentation, the Taishan 1 and 2 reactors were now expected to come online in June 2015 and September 2016 respectively.
Asked when the reactors will be finished, Herve Machenaud, head of EDF's Asia-Pacific region, told reporters "in principle at the end of this year" for Taishan 1 and "three or four months later" for Taishan.
Asked about whether CGN and EDF planned to go ahead with plans to build a third and fourth EPR reactor in Taishan, Machenaud declined to be specific.
"We talk about it every time," said Machenaud, on the sidelines of a Beijing visit by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.
Two other EPR reactors under construction, one in Finland, one in France, are years behind schedule and billions of euros over budget and industry experts expect that the Chinese utility wants to see at least one EPR up and running before ordering more. (Reporting by Dominique Patton,; writing by Megha Rajagopalan and Geert De Clercq; Editing by Andrew Callus)