Nuclear to play key role in energy mix
A visitor looks at a model of the Shidaowan nuclear power project during an expo in Beijing. [TIAN YUHAO/CHINA NEWS SERVICE]
The generating capacity of nuclear power in China is expected to continue increasing during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period with its share in the country's energy mix set to keep climbing, said industry analysts.
Nuclear energy will play a key role in China's transition to a clean low-carbon energy layout while ensuring domestic energy supplies, said Lin Boqiang, head of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University, in response to the government's decision on Monday at a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Qiang to approve six new nuclear reactors.
The meeting granted approval to six new nuclear power units in Ningde, Fujian province; Shidaowan, Shandong province; and Xudapu, Liaoning province. Stressing that safety is the lifeline of nuclear power development and it is crucial to put safety and quality first, the meeting emphasized that the construction of new nuclear power units must meet the world's highest safety requirements, and renovation of existing ones should keep pace with the latest safety standards.
Tighter safety supervision at all stages from beginning to end will be enforced, and localization of core technologies in key fields promoted, to ensure that nuclear power units are completely safe and reliable, it was noted.
Lin said the newly approved reactors will further facilitate the government's ambition to have the share of non-fossil energy in China's primary energy consumption reach approximately 25 percent by 2030.
China has been stepping up use of nuclear power for heating for residential and industrial units in recent years as it vows to maintain steady energy supplies. Application of nuclear technology in fields like medicine and industry has also been accelerating, he added.
Lin estimates investment in the six nuclear power units will exceed 100 billion yuan ($13.95 billion).
China General Nuclear Power Group said in a statement on Monday that the two new nuclear power units in Ningde, as well as the two in Shidaowan, will use Hualong One technology — China's third-generation nuclear power technology with full intellectual property rights — which is also one of the most widely accepted series of third-generation nuclear power reactors globally at present.
As much as 90 percent of the equipment used is produced domestically, it said.
The first phase of the Ningde nuclear power project, with a total investment of 56.2 billion yuan, had produced 257.9 billion kilowatt-hours of green power as of June 30, equivalent to reducing standard coal consumption of about 79.15 million metric tons and carbon dioxide emissions of more than 210 million tons, compared with a coal-fired power station of the same scale, said the company.
The company currently has 27 nuclear power units operating in China, and vowed to continuously ensure the safety of energy and power supply during the peak summer period, it said.
China has been making important progress in the export of its homegrown Hualong One nuclear power units in recent years, with a total of five such units in use both at home and abroad and nine under construction, according to a blue paper by the China Nuclear Energy Association released in April.
The association said China currently has 24 nuclear units with total planned installed capacity of 26.81 gigawatts under construction, ranking tops worldwide. The country so far has 54 commercial nuclear power units in operation with a total installed capacity of 56.82 GW, ranking third worldwide.
Nuclear power output rose to 417.78 billion kWh last year, up 2.5 percent year-on-year, accounting for 4.7 percent of the country's total electricity generation and ranking second globally, it said.