China to resume inland nuclear power development

China is likely to restart its nuclear power program in inland areas in the next five years to meet power demands, according to several sources.

Over ten provinces have plans for nuclear power projects, with 31 proposals having already passed the initial-feasibility test.

China aims to lift its operational nuclear power installed capacity to 58 million kilowatts by 2020, and those under construction will reach 30 million kilowatts according to the 13th Five-Year Plan, which will be released in October.

Inland nuclear power projects stalled during the 12th Five-Year Plan period over safety concerns, after an earthquake in 2011 in Fukushima, Japan, severely damaged its nuclear plant.

Now momentum is gathering.

The rapid economic growth of inland provinces means the area will need more power, and China should develop inland nuclear power projects to meet rising total and per capita energy consumption, according to a research report from Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Three inland nuclear power plants in central China’s Hunan, Hubei and Jiangxi provinces are likely to be the first projects to resume construction, according to an industry insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“The safety of inland nuclear power plants is guaranteed to strictly adhere to regulations and discharge standards,” said Su Gang, a senior engineer with China Nuclear Power Engineering Co. Ltd.

In addition, more safety requirements for nuclear power development will be issued by the government. There are also plans to establish a national emergency and rescue team with about 320 members to deal with nuclear power accidents.

Construction of the Xiapu fast neutron reactor nuclear power demonstrative project in Fujian Province, east China, could start at the end of 2017 if the project is approved in its final stages, China Business News quoted Xu Mi, an academic with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, as saying.

The demonstrative nuclear power project, designed with 600,000kw installed capacity, will feature the fast neutron reactor, which is regarded as the most advanced nuclear power technology in the world.

While developing nuclear power projects in the domestic market, China is stepping up overseas projects and global cooperation to export its advanced equipment.

China General Nuclear Power Corp. (CGN) on Monday inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Kenya Nuclear Power Bureau on cooperative projects in the African nation, marking another milestone for China’s nuclear power overseas strategy following other collaboration agreements including one signed with Pakistan in August.

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