Published on Wednesday January 26 2011
BEIJING: China will construct 10 more mega nuclear reactors with a whopping investment of USD 121.5 billion, in addition to 25 currently being built, to step up its atomic power generation to meet its rising energy demands.
China is expected to raise its 2020 target for the nuclear power industry to 86 GW or 5 per cent of its power generation with an annual investment of 70 billion Yuan (USD 10.6 billion), state run China Daily reported today.
To reach the capacity China will build 10 more nuclear power projects during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), Zhang Guobao, former director of the National Energy Administration said.
China, the world's second-largest economy, aims to get 15 per cent of its power from renewable sources by 2020.
In line with the country's move to accelerate the development of the industry, China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC), plans to invest 800 billion Yuan (USD 121.5 billion) in nuclear projects by 2020.
The investments have created a huge market for nuclear equipment, the value of which is estimated at 500 billion yuan. That equipment forms the largest part of investment in nuclear power stations, accounting for 50 to 60 per cent of the total.
Officials say China is planning a massive push into nuclear power in an effort to wean itself off coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel which was seen as a major obstacle for meeting emission reduction goals.
China now has 12 working reactors with 10.15 GW which roughly accounts to about 2.2 per cent of the total power production largely relied on coal and hydel projects.
According to official media reports 25 nuclear power plants were under construction.
Nuclear power will have to account for five per cent of power generation by then Xiao Xinjian, a researcher at China's Energy Research Institute said.
The massive expansion of the nuclear power plants, which perhaps also coincides with India's plans to expand in a big way, was expected to create a massive demand for uranium resources round the world.
According to the World Nuclear Association the demand uranium in China is expected to reach 20,000 tons annually by 2020, where as the country will be able to produce only 2,400 tons of uranium that year.