China, the world's second-biggest energy user, approved the construction of 28 more nuclear power reactors under a revised target for 2020 to meet rising demand for clean energy and to accelerate development of the industry.
Each of the one-gigawatt reactors will cost as much as 14 billion yuan ($2.1 billion), Mu Zhanying, general manager of China Nuclear Engineering Group, said in an interview in Beijing today. One gigawatt is enough to power 800,000 average US homes.
Under the original plan announced in 2005, China was to spend 400 billion yuan to add 40 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2020 to help reduce reliance on more polluting coal and oil. The country's capacity will rise to more than 70 gigawatts by then under the revised plan, Wang Binghua, chairman of the State Nuclear Power Technology Corp, said on March 20.
Construction of 20 of the 28 reactors has already begun, Sun Youqi, vice president of China National Nuclear Corp, said at an industry exhibition in Beijing today. It would take 50 months to build one reactor, Mu said.
The country currently has 9 gigawatts of nuclear capacity in operation, the China Electricity Council said on Aug 14. Details of the government's revised plan will be announced this year, China National Nuclear's President Sun Qin said on March 5.
About 200 gigawatts of nuclear capacity is planned or being built worldwide as governments turn to non-fossil fuels to fight global warming, Nomura International said in a report in January. Currently, 372 gigawatts of nuclear power capacity is in operation, according to the World Nuclear Association.