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UPDATED: September 24, 2007 NO.39 SEP.27, 2007
Pressing Ahead, Atomically
China is actively developing nuclear power, providing huge business opportunities to related industries

In 1991, led by CNNC, China independently designed and constructed its first nuclear power plant, a 300-mw PWR plant for the first stage of Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant. Operation of Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant began three years earlier than the Dayawan Nuclear Power Plant, which adopted technologies from France.

Mechanism must be transformed

Since the construction of the first nuclear power plant, Chinese nuclear power development has been slow.

According to him, nuclear has always been a top-secret material subject to uniform management of the state. Therefore the construction of nuclear power plants is totally under strict control of the state. Although non-state capital is now being encouraged to invest in nuclear power plants, they can only contribute investment but have no right to participate in construction and management.

"In our mind, we should look on nuclear power the same as hydropower, thermal power and other forms of electricity generated from renewable energies and incorporate nuclear power into the uniform power market, and should not treat it in isolation," Xia continued.

In his opinion, argument on investment mechanism of China's nuclear power construction has started in the 1970s and 1980s and continues till now. In the early days of China's nuclear power development, the electricity department was responsible for construction and management of nuclear power and closely cooperated with the nuclear industry department in respect to nuclear fuel elements and reactor technologies.

At that time, the electricity department led China's nuclear power development. At the end of the 1980s, the government assigned nuclear power to the nuclear industry department and adopted military management on companies for civil use of nuclear power. By now, only two nuclear companies are authorized to develop nuclear power. "This is incompatible with the market economy," Xia said. "Such a mechanism of nuclear power construction and investment cannot suit the demands of large-scale nuclear power construction on any account and must be reformed as soon as possible."

Xia also believes that transformation of nuclear power mechanisms means that investment needs to be made in nuclear power plants just like investments in hydropower and thermal power. The state should allow companies that are strong enough or willing to invest in nuclear power plants to establish nuclear power plants approved by the state in accordance with state planning, only if these nuclear power plants agree to accept supervision and check of the state and the International Atomic Energy Agency so as to ensure quality and operation safety of nuclear power plants.

China's Nuclear Power Plants

Plants in operation

1. Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant

The first stage was the first 300-mw PWR nuclear power plant independently designed, constructed, operated and managed by China, and started construction in March 1985, incorporated into grids in December 1991 and put into business operation in April 1994.

The second stage was the first commercially used PWR nuclear power plant with two 600-mw generating units, independently designed, constructed and managed by China, and started construction on June 2, 1996 and put into business operation on April 15, 2002.

The third stage (heavy water reactor) adopts nuclear power technologies from Canada. No.1 generating unit was incorporated into grids on November 19, 2002 and put into business operation on December 31, 2002. No.2 generating unit was incorporated into grids on June 12, 2003, and put into business operation on July 24, 2003.

2. Guangdong Dayawan Nuclear Power Plant

Construction began on August 7, 1987. Its two generating units were put into business operation on February 1 and May 6, 1994. It is the first large-scale commercial nuclear power plant of China that introduces foreign capitals, equipment and technologies.

3. Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant

Construction started on October 20, 1999, and was put into operation in 2004 and 2005. It uses nuclear power technologies from Russia.

4. Ling'ao Nuclear Power Plant

With the first stage being started construction in May 1997, it owned two gw-level PWR nuclear power generating units and was put into business operation in January 2003. The second stage is under construction now.

Plants under construction

1. Guangdong Yangjiang Nuclear Power Plant

With planned investment of $8 billion and six gw-level generating units, it is the largest nuclear power project in China. Construction of the first stage began in 2006.

2. Zhejiang Sanmen Nuclear Power Plant

Construction began in July 2004. It has planned installed capacity of six gw-level generating units. The investment in the first stage is $3.33 billion for two gw-level PWR generating units which are the most advanced in China. Sanmen Nuclear Power Plant will be completed in around 2010 with a total installed capacity of 12 gw, surpassing that of the Three Gorges Hydropower Station.

3. Liaoning Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Plant

With planned investment of $6.67 billion and the principal part of the project being started in August 2007, it is planned to be complete for business operation in 2012 with six gw-level generating units.

4. Jiangxi Province is planning to set up a nuclear power plant in Pengze County on the south bank of the Yangtze River. With planned investment of $5.33 billion and installed capacity of 4 gw, this project will be started in 2008.

5. Chongqing is planning to set up a nuclear power plant in Fuling with planned investment of $2.67 billion and installed capacity of 1.8 gw. The planned annual electricity generation will be 8.5 billion kwh. The first generating unit will be put into operation in 2013. The owner of this project is China Power Investment Corp.

6. Hunan Province is planning a nuclear power project with total installed capacity of 6 gw, of which 2 gw will be completed in the first stage. By now contract negotiation of eight peripheral subjects such as hydrology has been finished. It is expected to finish the preliminary feasibility study next year and submit the project proposal.

7. Weihai, Shandong Province, is planning to establish a 195-mw gas-cooled-reactor nuclear power plant. It will be the first pebble-bed nuclear reactor in commercial use in the world. China Huaneng Group, the country's largest power company, takes the lead of construction of this project.



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