China plans 30 nuclear power plants along Silk Route

China has set a target of building around 30 nuclear power units in countries along the Belt and Road Initiative routes by 2030, according to Sun Qin, president of China National Nuclear Corp.

He said 70 countries in total are already planning or developing their own nuclear power projects, and it is estimated 130 more nuclear power units will have been built by 2020.

“But we also face very strong competition in the international nuclear market,” he said.

“Countries like Russia, South Korea, Japan and the United States are all exploring the global nuclear market aggressively.”

Belt and Road destinations are those along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road-the initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping to strengthen regional economic integration and infrastructure connectivity.

Currently China has 30 nuclear power generating units with a capacity of 28 million gigawatts and another 24 units are under construction, according to data from the National Energy Administration.

CNNC is one of China’s three nuclear giants.

It has been accelerating the building of its flagship nuclear project using Hualong One, a third-generation nuclear reactor design, in Fuqing, Fujian province, and hopes to leverage this domestic experience to boost its nuclear technology exports.

The operator has already reached bilateral agreements on nuclear energy cooperation with countries including Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Britain, France and Jordan, Sun said.

But he emphasized there was no need to hit full self-sufficiency in nuclear, because many general components can be bought through international suppliers.

CNNC has already exported six nuclear reactors, five miniature neutron source reactors, two nuclear research facilities and one experimental reactor.

Sun said the company is looking ideally to cooperate with countries throughout the whole nuclear power industry chain.

It actively promotes localization of its technology and strives to establish integrated industrial systems for countries involved with the Belt and Road, Sun said.

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