China allocates $4.8 billion to build two more nuclear reactors

China will spend USD 4.8 billion this year to build two more nuclear power reactors, as part of its plan to expand production of clean energy and reduce dependence on coal

PTI| Last Updated: Mar 25, 2016, 18:10 PM IST

Beijing: China will spend USD 4.8 billion this year to build two more nuclear power reactors, as part of its plan to expand production of clean energy and reduce dependence on coal.

China National Nuclear Power Co (CNNP) has announced it would invest 31.4 billion yuan (USD 4.8 billion) this year into nuclear power projects, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The company plans to start construction on two generating units this year.

Currently, China's energy structure is dominated by coal, which accounts for 64 per cent of primary energy use, way above the world average of around 30 per cent.

The government aims to increase the share of non-fossil energy to 15 per cent by 2020 and 20 per cent by 2030. In addition, coal consumption will be reduced to 62 per cent of energy use by 2020.

To this end, nuclear power, with its low carbon emissions and high efficiency, emerged as the obvious choice, the report said.

"Nuclear energy plays an irreplaceable role in China's energy security and energy structure optimisation, it is also a solution to treat smog," He Yu, chair of China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN) said.

Currently, China has 30 operational nuclear power generating units, with a total installed capacity of 28.31 GW.

It also has 24 units with a total installed capacity of 26.72 GW under construction, ranking first in the world.

According to earlier government plans, China aimed to increase installed nuclear power capacity to 58 GW, with an additional 30 GW under construction by 2020. It meant that around six to eight new generators are needed to be put in operation each year from 2016 to 2020.

This focus on nuclear power development also came as China's energy use is cooling amid the economic slowdown; the perfect time to intensify efforts to "revolutionise" the energy sector, Nur Bekri, head of China's National Energy Administration said.

China is also building two 1100 mw nuclear reactors in Pakistan's Karachi city. China's nuclear power development was put on hold following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in March 2011.

Approvals for new nuclear plants were also suspended and a nationwide safety review launched after the incident, before it was cautiously resumed in October 2012.