Nuclear power expansion set to spread inland
SHANGHAI: China is pressing ahead with plans to expand its nuclear power industry with five new power stations planned for construction by 2010.
And, for the moment, demand for the plants is outstripping supply with leading energy companies identifying new sites in inland regions, despite the government stated priority for power stations in coastal areas.
Prior to the State Council's recent decision to "actively speed up development" of this kind of energy, China Power Investment Corporation found sites in inland regions such as Sichuan and Anhui provinces and Chongqing Municipality which they say are suitable for the construction of nuclear power stations.
Yu Peigen, the company's general manager in charge of nuclear power, said site-identification work has been completed in nearly 10 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions.
"We have finished preparatory work for nuclear power construction in coastal Shandong and Liaoning provinces and are waiting approval from the State Council," said Yu.
He said the two plants in Shandong's Haiyang and Liaoning's Hongyanhe, with a first-phase design capacity of 1,000 megawatts each, are among five nuclear plants to be constructed during the coming 11th five-year (2006-10) period.
Eventually the two plants will operate six and four reactors respectively with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts each.
According to the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence, China will build 40 reactors with a combined maximum capacity of 40,000 megawatts over the coming 15 years.
Every year until 2020 an average of two to three 1,000 megawatt reactors will be put into commission.
"But for the next 10 years or so, the government will put its priority in eastern and coastal regions," said Zhang Fubao, deputy department director of China Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA).
However, reflecting China's looming energy crisis, many provincial governments are active in planning construction of nuclear power plants and more than 16 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities have announced plans to do so.
Zhang said China plans to increase the proportion of its electricity generated by nuclear power from the current 2.4 per cent to 4 per cent in 15 years time.
The average proportion among countries with nuclear power plants is 17 per cent.
"We are speeding up development of nuclear power because it is clean and green energy," said Zhang, adding that coal-fired plants, which provide nearly 70 per cent of China's electricity, have caused massive pollution.
Zhang also said the country is preparing to choose a site in East China to deposit nuclear waste.Two sites in Northwest China's Gansu Province and South China's Guangdong Province are already in use.
"We are choosing a site in this region because there are going to be more nuclear power plants in East China," said Zhang.
He said China has already been involved in international efforts to ensure the safety of nuclear power.
The officials made the remarks in an interview with China Daily in Shanghai, where a three-day exhibition on the nuclear power industry has been opened since yesterday.
The exhibition attracted more than 130 companies from all over the world, including France, where nuclear power provides more than 70 per cent of the total electricity generated.
(China Daily 04/07/2005 page1)