China to raise nuclear power capacity

China to raise nuclear power capacity

China on Tuesday announced plans to raise its installed nuclear power generation capacity by 20 per cent this year, shaking off concerns over atomic safety in the wake of Japan’s Fukoshima disaster.

China’s plan to raise installed nuclear power capacity by 20 per cent this year indicated the country is developing nuclear power in a safe and efficient way, Chairman of the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group He Yu told state-run Xinhua news agency.

Third largest

By 2020, China will have the third-largest number of nuclear power-generating units in operation, following the United States and France, he said. Nuclear power totalling 3.24 gigawatts (GW) will be added in 2013, the agency quoted National Development and Reform Commission as saying.

According to a government white paper on energy released in October 2012, China had 15 nuclear power-generating units in operation with a total installed capacity of 12.54 GW.

He said China has another 30 units currently under construction, which will add another 32.81 GW.

The October white paper stated that nuclear power only accounts for 1.8 per cent of China’s total power output, far below the global average of 14 per cent.
China’s nuclear power development came to a halt after the Fukushima nuclear crisis that occurred in Japan in March 2011 following a Tsunami triggered by a powerful earthquake.

The country suspended approvals for new nuclear plants and carried out a nationwide safety review after the crisis.

The approvals were cautiously resumed in October 2012.

Natural choice

However, “developing nuclear power is a natural choice in terms of improving China’s energy structure and ensuring safety,” He said.

In January, China broke ground on a USD 476 million nuclear power project with a designed capacity of 200 megawatts in the city of Rongcheng in eastern Shandong Province.The project will be the first in the world to feature a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor with fourth-generation features to be used for commercial purposes.

Developed by Tsinghua University, the reactor will start generating power by the end of 2017, Xinhua said.