The design and first-phase construction of three inland nuclear power stations in China has begun, Wang Binghua, chairman of State Nuclear Power Technology Corp, said Wednesday at 2009 China Power Forum.
The new sites are Xian'ning in the central Hubei province, Taohuajiang in the central Hunan province and Pengze in the eastern Jiangxi province.
China's existing nuclear power stations are sited along the eastern coast.
Building more nuclear power stations is essential to China's endeavor to cope with energy shortage and pollution, said Ye Qizhen, deputy director of the science and technology committee of the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and member of Chinese Academy of Engineering.
In other countries, most nuclear power stations are sited inland. For example, 65.1 percent of nuclear power stations are sited inland in France and 75.1 percent in the United States, Ye said.
China's vast inland areas need nuclear power stations to drive economic growth, especially in regions that lack coal and water resources, Ye added.
A massive power failure in January and February 2008, caused by blizzards in central and southern China, signaled the risk of power shortage in China's hinterland, Ye said.
Inland nuclear power stations will enter a phase of mass production and construction in 2013, said Sun Qin, general manager of the CNNC.
The inland nuclear power stations will all adopt the most advanced Westinghouse-designed AP1000 pressurized water reactors to meet the stringent safety and environment standards, Sun added.
China's installed capacity of nuclear power is expected to reach 70 million kW by 2020, 200 million kW by 2030 and 400 million kW by 2050, Ye said.
"It means nuclear power will account for 7 percent of China's overall power capacity in 2020, 15 percent in 2030 and 22 percent in 2050." Ye added.
Now China is able to simultaneously design and construct several nuclear power stations and is capable of independent designing of pressurized water reactor nuclear power stations with the capacity of more than one million kW, Ye added.
Currently, China has 11 operating nuclear power generating units with the total capacity of 9.1 million kW, said Zhou Zhenxing, chairman of Uranium Industry Company, a subsidiary of China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Corporation.
Another 12 newly approved units under construction have a capacity of 34.76 million kW, Zhou said.