China's nuclear power facilities are spreading inland from its coastal region
as the country speeds up its eco-friendly power development.
The first inland nuclear plant, according to industry experts, is likely to
be set up near Yiyang City in Central China's Hunan Province on the bank of
Taohuajiang, or Peach Blossom River.
The feasibility study for the project was completed last year, and once
built, the Yiyang plant will be generating 4,000 megawatts (MW) of nuclear
power, or 10 percent of the country's total nuclear capacity by 2020.
But Hunan may not be the only inland province to have a nuclear power plant.
Anhui, Hubei and Sichuan, where land is being surveyed for such plants, may join
it. Provincial governments are even ready to provide some of the funds for the
China's technology has matured enough to generate nuclear energy in its
inland areas "so long as the site is safe and environmental protection is
guaranteed," says Han Xiaoping, chief information officer of China5e.com, a top
energy website in the country.
A source close to the Hunan project, who declined to be named, said: "China
National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), the country's largest nuclear reactor
builder, expects to start work on the project in the next three to five years."
Earlier this year, CNNC entered into a joint venture, Hunan Taohuajiang
Nuclear Power Ltd, with Hong Kong-based China Resources, China Three Gorges
Project Corporation and Hunan Xiangtou Holdings Group.
Preparation for the project is "going on smoothly, although the development
timetable is still to be set by the National Development and Reform Commission
(NDRC)", the source said.
The Taohuajiang project will reportedly be divided into two phases, each
designed to generate 2,000 MW.
China sees nuclear power as a clean, alternative solution to its growing
energy demand. It has decided to shift its nuclear power generation from the
so-called appropriate, more cautious model to accelerate development, according
to the nation's 11th Five-Year Plan for the nuclear industry.
The country has 11 nuclear power reactors, all of them in its economically
thriving east and southeast coasts. In 2006, nuclear power accounted for 1.1
percent of its total installed power capacity, according to State Electricity
Regulatory Commission data.
(China Daily 07/25/2007 page2)