China plans 40 more nuclear plants
China plans to build 40 nuclear power plants over the next 15 years, making them the main power source for its booming east coast, a government technology official says.
"Nuclear power will play an increasingly important role in the development of China's power industry," said Zhang Fubao, an official of the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, quoted Thursday by the Xinhua news agency.
China is expected to be the world's biggest developer of nuclear power stations in coming decades as the government tries to meet soaring demands for electricity while reducing pollution from coal-fired power plants.
With no plants planned in the United States and few in other Western countries, suppliers of equipment are looking to China to drive sales in their industry.
Zhang, deputy director of the system engineering department under the technology commission, was speaking Wednesday at a symposium on the nuclear power market and technology.
Zhang said the Chinese nuclear industry's generating capacity was expected to reach 40 million kilowatts in 2020, though it didn't say how that compared to current levels.
"Nuclear power will become the pillar of energy supply in coastal areas of east China," the center of the country's export-driven economic boom, he was quoted as saying.
China is reviewing plans for expanding two nuclear power plants and proposals to start building two more in the booming southern provinces of Guangdong and Zhejiang, Xinhua said.
According to Xinhua, China's nuclear power plants supplied 50.4 billion kilowatt hours of electricity last year, accounting for 2.3 percent of the national total.