China should start the construction of eight million-kilowatt nuclear power units annually by 2030 to ensure the steady development of the nation’s nuclear industry and technology, said Liu Wei, a deputy to the 13th National People’s Congress and general manager of China Nuclear Power Engineering Co Ltd, a subsidiary of China National Nuclear Corp, the State-owned nuclear power company.
China is expected to see its total power consumption in 2030 reach 8.5 trillion to 10.5 trillion kilowatts, with clean energy accounting for more than 45 percent, said Liu.
If nuclear power is to account for the global average of 10 percent of total electric energy production, China needs to start construction of eight million-kilowatt nuclear power units annually by 2030, he said.
China has pledged to increase its total installed nuclear capacity to 58 gigawatts by 2020. It had 45.9 GW in operation as of January.
Work on the construction of unit one of China’s first nuclear power plant this year, located in Zhangzhou, Fujian province, is expected to start on June 30.
With an average construction period of 60 months for each unit and a 10-month interval between each two units, the first unit is forecast to become commercially operational in 2024, followed by the second one in 2025.
Joseph Jacobelli, a senior analyst of Asian utilities at Bloomberg Intelligence, said: “Slow approvals as well as delays in the commissioning of new generation reactors may delay the government’s ambition to have 58 GW in operational capacity.”
China is expected to lead a surge in nuclear energy growth in Asia in the next five to 10 years, he said.
China National Nuclear Corp currently has 21 nuclear power units under operation, with installed capacity reaching 1,909.2 million kilowatts.
It has participated in the design of the Hualong One reactors, a domestically-developed third generation reactor design, which is seen as another big step in the development of China’s domestically developed third-generation nuclear power facilities.
The company had 58 nuclear power units under operation and construction by the end of 2018, it said.