China Approves Construction of Two New Nuclear Power Plants

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  • The Chinese government recently approved the construction of two nuclear power projects at a cost of USD10.24 billion.
  • The plants are Hainan Changjiang phase 2 and Zhejiang San’ao phase 1.
  • The Changjiang units will be built by a joint venture between China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and China Huaneng Group and are expected to go live in 2025.
  • The Hainan Changjiang nuclear power plant phase 2 project is scheduled to be switch on in 2026.

The Chinese government announced the construction of the two nuclear plants as “an important measure to expand effective investment, enhance energy support and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,

The Zhejiang plant will be the first nuclear power project involving private capital. Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group’s investment subsidiary will take a 2% stake in the plant.

Following the new approvals, two Hualong One units will be built as phase two – units 3 and 4 – of the Changjiang plant by state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and China Huaneng Group. This follows the signing of an agreement between the two companies in June 2019, through which they agreed to jointly invest in the development, construction, operation and management of two Hualong One reactors at Changjiang. Huaneng will hold a controlling 51% stake in the project through its subsidiary Huaneng Nuclear Power Development Company. Construction of unit 3 is scheduled to be completed in 2025, with unit 4 following in 2026.

CNNC and Huaneng are also cooperating in phase one of the Changjiang plant (which comprises two CNP-600 pressurised water reactors), the Shidaowan HTR-PM project (a demonstration high-temperature gas-cooled reactor in Shandong province) and the 600 MWe demonstration fast reactor at Xiapu, Fujian province. For phase 1 of the Changjiang plant, Huaneng holds a 49% stake, with CNNC holding the remaining 51%. In July last year, CNNC announced the launch of a project to construct an ACP100 small modular reactor at the Changjiang site.

Last year, China launched three new nuclear power plants in the provinces of Shandong, Fujian, and Guangdong, which marked the end of a moratorium on new projects. China’s nuclear association said that six to eight nuclear reactors a year will be built in the country between 2020 and 2025. These will raise the country’s total capacity to 70GW, up 43.5% from May-end, according to the official China Daily in July. The association also said that the total installed nuclear capacity in China is expected to stand at 52GW by the end of this year.

The approvals for the new units follow a slowdown in conventional large-scale nuclear power project approvals in recent years. Eight new reactors were approved in 2015, but only the construction of a demonstration fast reactor was approved between 2016 and 2018. Three projects were approved in early 2019. Construction permits for the Changjiang and San’ao projects must now be issued by the National Nuclear Safety Administration before construction can begin.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal


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