Salt Lake City Tribune
April 10, 2004


By H. Josef Hebert, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- On a trip to China next week to talk about terrorism and
North Korea, Vice President Dick Cheney will have another task --
making a pitch for Westinghouse's U.S. nuclear power technology.

At stake could be billions of dollars in business in coming years and
thousands of American jobs. The initial installment of four reactors,
costing $1.5 billion apiece, would also help narrow the huge U.S.
trade deficit with China.

China's latest economic plan anticipates more than doubling its
electricity output by 2020, and the Chinese government, facing
enormous air pollution problems, is looking to shift some of that
output away from coal-burning plants. Its plan calls for building as
many as 32 large 1,000-megawatt reactors over the next 16 years.

No one has ordered a new nuclear power reactor in the United States in
three decades and the next one, if it comes, is still years away. So,
China is being viewed by the U.S. industry as a potential bonanza.

Cheney's three-day visit to Beijing and Shanghai next week is part of
a weeklong trip to Asia that will also include a stop in Tokyo. He
left Washington on Friday.

A senior administration official, briefing reporters about the trip,
said Cheney will not "pitch individual commercial transactions."

But he intends to make it clear "we support the efforts of our
American companies" and general access to China's markets, said the

Some critics are concerned about such technology transfers.

"This pitch could not be more poorly timed," Henry Sokolski, executive
director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, told a
hearing of the House International Relations Committee recently.

Citing recent Chinese plans to help Pakistan build two large reactors
that are capable of producing plutonium, he said it's not the time for
China to be rewarded with new reactor technology.

U.S. officials said the Chinese have given adequate assurances that
such sales will not pose a proliferation risk.

Copyright 2004, The Salt Lake Tribune.