Nuclear program will bring more power

Updated: 2012-12-24 07:39

By Jiang Xueqing reports from Shenzhen and Wu Wencong from Beijing (China Daily)

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Comprehensive studies conducted after the disaster in Fukushima will help ensure safety and high standards, Jiang Xueqing reports from Shenzhen and Wu Wencong from Beijing.

The meltdowns at a Japanese nuclear plant last year sent shock waves across the world.

Beijing suspended approval of new nuclear power projects following the massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, that triggered a radiation leak at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

But now China's nuclear program is getting back on track.

Nuclear program will bring more power

Employees in the control center of Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province. Wang Jianmin / CFP

The Ministry of Environmental Protection heralded this development in late November with two announcements: The Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant in East China's Zhejiang province will launch a flood-control project, and the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant in Jiangsu province, also in East China, will build two nuclear power reactor units.

The State Council passed the Nuclear Power Safety Plan (2011-20) and the Mid- and Long-Term Development Plan for Nuclear Power (2011-20) on Oct 24. Eight days earlier, it approved the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) for Nuclear Safety and Radioactive Pollution Prevention and Vision for 2020. These three documents paved the way for the nation to relaunch its nuclear power projects.

Fifteen nuclear power reactors had entered service by the end of 2011, with a total installed capacity of 12.54 million kilowatts. Another 26, still under construction, were designed with a combined installed capacity of 29.24 million kW, the largest in the world. The country's installed nuclear power capacity is expected to reach 40 million kW by 2015, according to China's Energy Policy 2012 published by the Information Office of the State Council on Oct 24.

"It takes about five years to build a nuclear power generating unit," said Pu Jilong, a senior expert in nuclear and radiation safety and former deputy general manager of China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co. "Now that the government has started ratifying new nuclear power projects, if four units are approved each year, the total installed capacity is likely to reach 60 million kW by 2020."

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