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China's nuclear power set to increase sevenfold by '20

By Hao Yan (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2010-08-27 17:51
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China has to raise its nuclear power capacity to 75 megawatts by 2020, eight times that of the current nine-megawatt capacity, to offset the pressure of emission reduction, Shanghai Securities News reported Friday citing an official close to the matter.

"At least 15 percent of China's total energy consumption must be non-fossil energy by 2020 to meet the nation's commitment at the Copenhagen Climate Conference. Nuclear power should contribute up to six percentage points," said an unidentified senior official at the Energy Bureau of the National Development and Reform Commission. The official is among those who reviewed the nation's 12th five-year energy plan.

"China's immediate need in cutting energy consumption makes nuclear power a crucial energy source. The advantage of nuclear power is in high stability and high utilization," the report quoted Zhang Shuai, an analyst at Sinolink Securities, as saying.

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Nuclear power generation costs less than other power generation too, Zhang added.

Nuclear power generation costs $50 per megawatt-hour, the report said citing data from the International Atomic Energy Agency. China's mature nuclear power plants need less than 0.4 yuan (6 US cents) per kilowatt-hour.

"China's two nuclear power giants are buying overseas uranium mines in a speedy manner to meet demand from a huge installed nuclear power capacity, laying the foundation for a great leap of the nuclear power generation industry," added Zhang.