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How ambitious is China's nuclear power programme?

News is trickling in that China aims to build 150 new nuclear plants in the next 35 years. Here is a look at where China'a nuclear power capabilities stand today.


Nuclear Power Plants in China, image from the World Nuclear Association.


A quick look at China's nuclear power capabilties. As of 2021, China has 50 operating nuclear power plants with a total installed capacity of 49.5 GW. These nuclear power plants provide approximately 5% of China's total electricity generation. In addition to these operating plants, China has a number of nuclear power plants under construction.


As part of its efforts to transition to cleaner energy sources, China has made a significant investment in nuclear power. The country has been building new nuclear power plants at a rapid pace and has ambitious plans to increase its nuclear capacity in the coming decades. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, China has 27 nuclear reactors under construction, which will add an additional 28.4 GW of nuclear capacity when completed.


In addition to building new nuclear power plants, China is also working to improve the efficiency and safety of its existing nuclear fleet. The country has implemented a number of measures to modernize and upgrade its nuclear power plants, including the adoption of advanced technologies such as third-generation pressurized water reactors.


Despite the significant progress that China has made in expanding its nuclear power capacity, the country faces a number of challenges in the deployment of nuclear energy. One of the main challenges is the high cost of building and operating nuclear power plants. Nuclear energy is typically more expensive than other forms of electricity generation, such as coal and natural gas, and it requires a significant upfront investment.


Another challenge is the long lead time required to build nuclear power plants. It can take several years to complete the construction of a nuclear power plant, and the process is subject to various regulatory and safety requirements. This can make it difficult for China to rapidly increase its nuclear capacity in response to changing energy needs.


In conclusion, China currently has 50 operating nuclear power plants and is building an additional 27 reactors, which will add 28.4 GW of nuclear capacity when completed. While nuclear energy has the potential to play a significant role in China's energy mix, the high cost and long lead time of nuclear power plants present challenges for the country's efforts to expand its nuclear capacity. Some reports suggest that China plans to build 150 new nuclear reactors in the next 35 years.


Below is a list of the main existing nuclear plants in China:


  1. Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant (Phase I, II, and III) - Qinshan, Zhejiang Province

  2. Ling Ao Nuclear Power Plant (Phase I and II) - Ling Ao, Guangdong Province

  3. Yangjiang Nuclear Power Plant (Phase I and II) - Yangjiang, Guangdong Province

  4. Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Plant (Phase I and II) - Dalian, Liaoning Province

  5. Fuqing Nuclear Power Plant (Phase I and II) - Fuqing, Fujian Province

  6. Ningde Nuclear Power Plant (Phase I and II) - Ningde, Fujian Province

  7. Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant (Phase I and II) - Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province

  8. Changjiang Nuclear Power Plant - Changjiang, Hainan Province

  9. Ningde Nuclear Power Plant (Phase III and IV) - Ningde, Fujian Province

  10. Fuqing Nuclear Power Plant (Phase III and IV) - Fuqing, Fujian Province

  11. Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Plant (Phase III and IV) - Dalian, Liaoning Province

  12. Yangjiang Nuclear Power Plant (Phase III and IV) - Yangjiang, Guangdong Province

  13. Zhangzhou Nuclear Power Plant - Zhangzhou, Fujian Province

  14. Taishan Nuclear Power Plant (Phase I) - Taishan, Guangdong Province

  15. Sanmen Nuclear Power Plant (Phase I) - Sanmen, Zhejiang Province

  16. Haiyang Nuclear Power Plant (Phase I) - Haiyang, Shandong Province

  17. Fangjiashan Nuclear Power Plant - Fangjiashan, Zhejiang Province

  18. Fuqing Nuclear Power Plant (Phase V) - Fuqing, Fujian Province

  19. Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Plant (Phase V) - Dalian, Liaoning Province

  20. Yangjiang Nuclear Power Plant (Phase V) - Yangjiang, Guangdong Province

  21. Ningde Nuclear Power Plant (Phase V) - Ningde, Fujian Province

  22. Rongcheng Nuclear Power Plant - Rongcheng, Shandong Province

  23. Zhejiang Ningde Nuclear Power Plant - Ningde, Zhejiang Province

  24. Xudabao Nuclear Power Plant - Xudabao, Liaoning Province

  25. Ningde Nuclear Power Plant (Phase VI) - Ningde, Fujian Province

  26. Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Plant (Phase VI) - Dalian, Liaoning Province

  27. Yangjiang Nuclear Power Plant (Phase VI) - Yangjiang, Guangdong Province

  28. Fuqing Nuclear Power Plant (Phase VI) - Fuqing, Fujian Province

  29. Taishan Nuclear Power Plant (Phase II) - Taishan, Guangdong Province

  30. Sanmen Nuclear Power Plant (Phase II) - Sanmen, Zhejiang Province

  31. Haiyang Nuclear Power Plant (Phase II) - Haiyang, Shandong Province

  32. Changjiang Nuclear Power Plant (Phase II) - Changjiang, Hainan Province

  33. Fuqing Nuclear Power Plant (Phase VII) - Fuqing, Fujian Province

  34. Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Plant (Phase VII) - Dalian, Liaoning Province

  35. Yangjiang Nuclear Power Plant (Phase VII) - Yangjiang, Guangdong Province

  36. Ningde Nuclear Power Plant (Phase VII) - Ningde, Fujian Province


Some key under-construction nuclear power plants in China include:

1. Fuqing Nuclear Power Plantqing Nuclear Power Plant Phase II: Fuqing, Fujian Province (under construction)

2. Ningde Nuclear Power Plant Phase II: Fu'an, Fujian Province (under construction)

3. Sanmen Nuclear Power Plant Phase II: Sanmen, Zhejiang Province (under construction)

4. Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant Phase III: Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province (under construction)

5. Yangjiang Nuclear Power Plant Phase II: Yangjiang, Guangdong Province (under construction)

6. Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Plant Phase II: Dalian, Liaoning Province (planned)

7. Shidao Bay Nuclear Power Plant: Rongcheng, Shandong Province (planned)

8. Changjiang Nuclear Power Plant Phase II: Changjiang, Hainan Province (planned)

9. Lufeng Nuclear Power Plant: Lufeng, Guangdong Province (planned)

10. Pengze Nuclear Power Plant: Jiujiang, Jiangxi Province (planned)

11. Xudabao Nuclear Power Plant Phase II: Xingcheng, Liaoning Province (planned)


Note: This list may not include all nuclear power plants in China and is subject to change as plans and construction status may evolve.

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