Nuclear plants to ease shortages
China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), the nation's largest nuclear power conglomerate, has applied to the central government to build eight nuclear power generators.
The move comes at a time when the country has decided to speed up development of nuclear power amid widespread electricity shortages.
Four of the units will be constructed to expand existing nuclear power plants in South China's Guangdong Province and East China's Zhejiang Province, Kang Rixin, general manager of the company, told China Central Television at the China Beijing International High-tech Expo.
The four units will be designed and constructed with domestic technology, said Kang.
Insiders say the four units would be duplicate projects, copying technology used in the existing plants but also with small improvements.
Two of the duplicate generators will be built at the Second Phase of the Qinshan Nuclear Power Project in Zhejiang - the first batch of commercial nuclear power generators built in China.
Another two units will be constructed in Ling'ao in Guangdong to expand the Ling'ao Nuclear Power Plant which uses technology from France.
Kang said the company is also applying to build another four units at new sites in the two provinces, using foreign technology and design.
Two new generators will be built in Yangjiang in Guangdong and another two new units are scheduled for Sanmen in Zhejiang.
Kang said the eight nuclear generators would each have a 1,000 megawatt capacity.
The expansion of the Second Phase at Qinshan will be two units with installed capacity of 600-megawatts each.
Kang said earlier that the duplication projects at Qinshan and Ling'ao were likely to start this year.
Kang estimated total investment in the eight new reactors would amount to 80 billion yuan (US$9.7 billion).
About 80 per cent of the investment will be raised from bank loans and corporate bonds, while the remaining 20 per cent would be financed by CNNC's own capital.
China now has nine nuclear reactors operating in Qinshan in Zhejiang Province, Daya Bay and Ling'ao in Guangdong Province. Another two generators are under construction in Tianwan in East China's Jiangsu Province.
China's nuclear power plants produced 43.7 billion kilowatt hours of electricity last year. They account for 2.3 per cent of the nation's total electricity generation, compared to a world average of 16 per cent.
To accelerate the development of its burgeoning nuclear power industry, China is duplicating reactors on existing sites, and seeking foreign partners to build new reactors at new locations at the same time, experts said.
In duplication, the costs involved in nuclear plants could be slashed by as much as 25 per cent as the result of standard designs, shared infrastructure, increased localization in technology and equipment, and shorter construction periods, experts say.
The government plans to raise the country's nuclear power generating capacity by four times over its current level to 36,000 megawatts by 2020. That can be translated to at least two more nuclear reactors annually for the next 16 years.
Kang said China is drafting a long-term development strategy for the nuclear industry to standardize technology and improve localization.
Kang said China has accumulated enough experience and technology to develop the advanced 1,000-megawatt pressurized-water nuclear reactors, which is the most often-constructed type of nuclear reactor in the world.
"Nuclear power will play an important role in optimizing the energy consumption mix in China, and improve the environment," Kang said.
"We will further reduce construction and operation costs to improve the competitiveness of Chinese nuclear power reactors," he added.
(China Daily 05/26/2004 page9)