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Nuclear projects continue

Nuclear projects continue

Write: Shakira [2011-05-31]

A model of a nuclear reactor at an exhibition in Changchun, Jilin province. China has 13 nuclear reactors in operation and 25 more in the pipeline. {Photo / China Daily] 

Chinese power companies press ahead with plans for new plants 

BEIJING - Chinese nuclear power developers are continuing preparations for new projects, signaling their undiminished appetite for the clean energy despite Japan's nuclear crisis. 

The latest move is a joint effort by China GD Power Development Co Ltd and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group to build three nuclear plants in northern Jilin province. The companies intend to co-develop three nuclear plants, in Songjiang, Liangjia Mountain and Jiutai, according to the framework agreement on GD Power's website. 

"State-owned power generators are still keen on being part of the nuclear building group," said Xiao Xinjiang, a nuclear power expert at the Energy Research Institute of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). 

With the exception of China Power Investment Corp, the country's five thermal power-generating companies are not yet qualified to develop nuclear power. 

"The power groups expect to obtain qualifications to develop nuclear power plants, which requires a track record in project development, through investment in these nuclear projects," said Xiao. 

China has only granted the nuclear power development qualifications to China National Nuclear Corp, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group and China Power Investment Corp. 

The three nuclear projects are still in the preliminary stage, and are unlikely to obtain approval before 2020, according to Xiao. 

Meanwhile, preliminary work on China's first inland nuclear power project, the Taohuajiang Nuclear Power Plant, is still in progress, while safety checks on existing facilities and projects under construction are progressing nationwide. 

China froze approvals of nuclear projects on March 16 following Japan's nuclear crisis. 

The country has 13 reactors in operation and 25 more under construction. Meanwhile, preliminary work is being undertaken for dozens of nuclear projects that await government approval. 

But the freeze on new projects is unlikely to derail the country's goal of attaining 70 gigawatts (gW) of nuclear capacity by 2020. 

With the 25 units currently under construction, China could easily reach 40 gW in nuclear capacity by 2015. 

The country will likely grant approvals for the inland nuclear power plants in Jiangxi, Hunan and Hubei provinces once the freeze is lifted, and this will help the country achieve its goal by 2020. 

Xu Yuming, vice-secretary general of the China Nuclear Energy Association (CNEA), said recently that China would reach at least 70 gW in nuclear capacity by 2020 despite the halt on new approvals. 

The country is expected to issue its nuclear safety plan in August, after which it will resume the approval process, Lin Chengge, former deputy director of the National Nuclear Safety Administration, told China Daily earlier.