Haixing nuclear power plant to be online by 2020
Hebei province’s first nuclear power plant, with a total investment of 120 billion yuan ($17.4 billion), is expected to be in operation by the end of 2020.
Construction of the Haixing nuclear plant, located in the city of Cangzhou in the eastern part of the province close to the Bohai Sea, started last year.
The plant will use a Westinghouse AP1000 reactor and take 54 months to build, according to CNNP CHD HebeiNuclear Power Co Ltd, a unit of China National Nuclear Power Co Ltd.
An analyst said China’s energy demand will continue to rise over the medium term, with nuclear power playing a growing role.
Joseph Jacobelli, a senior Asian utilities analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, said the sector’s expansion had been accelerating in recent years.
He said that as the world’s biggest energy consumer, China is on a fast track to construct more nuclear power plants to replace coal-fired stations, in order to fight air pollution.
“China wants to urgently reduce the amount of power generation from coal-fired plants, a fuel that the nation has been overeliant on,” Jacobelli said.
“Coal was responsible for more than 70 percent of electric power generation in 2016 and this should fall to below 50 percent in the next few years in favor of nuclear, hydro and renewables,” he said.
“This is especially true in northern China where the new Haixing plant will be located.”
Jacobelli said Chinese companies are also developing local technologies in manufacturing nuclear fuel assemblies, to rely less on international companies to fabricate nuclear fuel.
“The more nuclear reactors China adds, the more experience it can draw on from the construction of these units, and this experience can be utilized by domestic developers to expand overseas,” he said.
In 2014, CNNC signed a cooperation agreement with the Hebei provincial government to build a number of plants and industrial parks in the province, including a uranium processing plant and nuclear power plant.
Hebei has prioritized nuclear power projects in recent years to boost its economic transformation and upgrading.
China now has 36 nuclear power reactors in operation, 21 under construction and more about to start construction, according to the World Nuclear Association.
The country plans to have 58 gigawatts of nuclear power in operation by 2020.