China's Nuclear Power Capacity Set to Quadruple by 2020

BEIJING, China, April 20, 2005 (ENS) - For the first time, China is hosting the International Conference on Nuclear Engineering (ICONE), the world's premier nuclear industry conference. The gathering will be held May 16 through 20 in Beijing. To meet energy demand, China has now officially listed nuclear power as part of the country's national power plan, and the government intends to nearly quadruple its nuclear generating capacity by the year 2020.

The 13th ICONE conference will serve as a platform for presentations, discussions and the international exchange of ideas and technologies in nuclear engineering and plant operations.

Many of the world's top nuclear engineers, scientists, and industry professionals will participate in panel sessions designed to expand international cooperation, understanding and promotion of nuclear programs.

A technical track will feature topics on near term deployment and next generation systems; plant operations, installation and life cycle; safety and security; waste management; code, standards and licensing; and thermal hydraulics.

One of the world's fastest growing economies and a country in need of increased electrical supply, China is pleased to host ICONE 13.

"To meet the need of energy supply and environmental protection, nuclear power will play a more active role in China," said Rixin Kang of China National Nuclear Corporation and conference chair of ICONE 13. "Recently, 10 new nuclear power units have been approved by the Chinese government and this is just the beginning of China's ambitious nuclear power program."


The Lingao nuclear power plant in southeast Guangdong province is based on French pressurized water reactor technology. (Photo courtesy Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres, France)
Nuclear power does not emit greenhouse gases, but the twin environmental problems of safe spent fuel disposal and radioactive contamination in the event of an accident remain.

China has become the world’s second largest consumer of energy. Today, it is one of the fastest growing producers of nuclear electric power in the world. Eight new large reactors are currently under construction, which will almost double the country's existing nuclear generating capacity.

China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group signed contracts Wednesday with Chinese nuclear plant designers and equipment manufacturers to build the Lingao II project, the country's first 1,000 megawatt-level, domestic-built nuclear power plant, the state news agency Xinhua reported.

Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan attended the ceremony in Beijing and said he hoped Chinese companies will work hard to localize the design and manufacture of nuclear power plants on basis of active cooperation with foreign partners.

Lingao II nuclear power station will be the third commercial nuclear power plant in South China's Guangdong Province, where China's first Daya Bay nuclear power plant began operation in 1991.

Construction will begin this December, and Lingao II is scheduled to begin operating in 2010.

Chinese companies will take a larger role in the construction of Lingao II than they have in past nuclear projects, according to Qian Zhimin, head of China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group.

Qian said that the construction of Lingao II will help China acquire the capacity to design and manufacture 1,000 megawatt level nuclear power equipment.

China now operates nine nuclear power plants with a total installed capacity of 7,000 megawatts, about 1.8 percent of the country's total installed power generating capacity. The government is planning to boost nuclear power development to meet the country's demand for electricity, especially in the eastern provinces that are experiencing severe power shortages.

According to government plans, a total of 32 new 1,000 megawatt reactors are expected to be brought on line by 2020.

The first generating unit of the Lingao nuclear power plant began commercial operation in May 2002, with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts. The second generating unit began operating in January 2003.

A new 6,000 megawatt nuclear complex is planned for construction at Yangjiang in Guangdong province, to begin commercial operation in 2010. A second generating facility also is planned for Daya Bay, site of China's first nuclear power plant.


Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan accompanied by other officials, inspects the Daya Bay nuclear power plant. (Photo courtesy China National Nuclear Corporation)
Visiting Daya Bay on Monday, Zeng emphasized safety as a priority for the Chinese nuclear power program.

Saying that the Central Party Committee, the State Council and the Central Military Committee place a high value on nuclear power and the development of the nuclear industry, Zeng emphasized the industry must be built on "safety first, quality first."

"This is the premise and the safeguard on which our entire nuclear electricity enterprise develops," Zeng said. "If it does not have this, development of the nuclear industry is just empty talk."

China is one of six countries involved in the ITER experiment to produce electricity from nuclear fusion. Rather than producing electricity with today's technology of splitting atoms, the ITER reactor would fuse atoms at temperatures of over 100 million degrees Celsius.

In addition to China, the ITER project includes the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and the United States. It is being conducted under the auspices of the UN nuclear oversight body, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

ITER is technically ready to start construction and the first operation is expected in 2015. Two candidate sites are under consideration for its construction - Cadarache in Europe and Rokkasho-mura in Japan.

ICONE 13 is sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Chinese Nuclear Society. For more information visit the website at: