Guangdong plans biggest nuclear power plant
Officials in South China's Guangdong Province are speeding up preparations for the construction of the country's biggest nuclear power plant.
The facility will be located in Yangjiang, one of the province's coastal cities.
Construction of the facility's nuclear reactor will begin before 2006, said Qian Zhimin, general manager of Guangdong Nuclear Power Co Ltd.
Infrastructure construction at the site, in Shahuai Township in Yangjiang's Yangdong County, is under way, Qian said on Tuesday.
Foreign companies from the United States, Japan, Russia, Canada and France are competing against domestic firms to design the project, Qian said.
Yangjiang's nuclear power plant is expected to help stem the chronic power shortages along the nation's prosperous Pearl River Delta, which includes the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, Qian added.
Guangdong Province's demand for electricity has exceeded supply for several years.
That has forced the province to purchase electricity from Hong Kong. This year, the gap between supply and demand is expected to reach 10 per cent.
Qian said Yangjiang Nuclear Power Co Ltd was formed, by his firm, to construct and operate the nuclear facility.
Hu Wenquan was appointed general manager of Yangjiang Nuclear Power Co Ltd late last year.
The nuclear plant, located in western Guangdong, will have six electricity generating units.
Each will have a production capacity of 1 million kilowatts.
The first two units will begin generating power by 2010. The remaining units will be operational within 15 to 20 years.
The plant will be capable of generating more than 45 billion kilowatt hours of electricity annually when all six units are operational.
The plant, which will cover 472,485 square metres, will cost more than US$8 billion to construct.
Guangdong Nuclear Power plans to begin constructing another nuclear power plant in 2006.
It will be located in Shenzhen's Daya Bay and it will support the Pearl River Delta area's rapid economic growth.
The Lingdong Nuclear Power Plant, also referred to as the second phase of the Ling'ao Nuclear Power Plant, will have two generating units. Each has an installed capacity of 1 million kilowatts.
When the two nuclear plants are operational, Guangdong will have a nuclear power production capacity, or installed capacity, of more than 12 million kilowatts.
Nuclear power plants will produce more than 20 per cent of the electricity generated in the province.
Qian said his company is considering building another nuclear power plant. Construction could begin in 2010.
Initial plans for the Yaogu Nuclear Power Plant in Taishan, another coastal city in western Guangdong, call for three units, each with an installed capacity of 1 million kilowatts.
Qian, however, refused to provide further details about the proposed plant.
Yangjiang's plant is very important to Guangdong's economic growth, especially to the economic development of the Pearl River Delta's western region, Qian said.
The plant will also reinforce Guangdong's status as China's largest nuclear power production base.
China has another major nuclear power production base in Qinshan, a city in East China's Zhejiang Province.
Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant, China's first nuclear power plant, began operations in 1991.
China by 2020 will have nuclear power capacity in excess of 36 million kilowatts.
Elsewhere, Sanmen, in Zhejiang Province, and Lianyungang, in Jiangsu Province, plan to begin constructing nuclear power plants within two years.
Guangdong at present has two nuclear plants in operation - Daya Bay and Ling'ao. The plants combined have four units. Each has a production capacity of 1 million kilowatts.
The two plants, situated in the eastern region of the Pearl River Delta, began operations in 1994 and 1995, respectively.
Most of the equipment and technologies at the Daya Bay and Ling'ao plants, including the reactors, were imported from France, which is one of the world's leading nuclear power producers.
The US$4 billion Daya Bay plant is one of the largest Sino-foreign joint ventures in the Chinese mainland.
Guangdong Province holds 75 per cent of the Daya Bay plant while its partner, Hong Kong Nuclear Power Investment Corp Ltd, holds the remaining 25 per cent.