Beijing: China has approved plans to build a nuclear power plant in the southwestern region of Guangxi, state media reported on Monday, as Beijing makes good on a pledge to boost renewable energy sources.
The first phase of the project in Fangchengchang city will involve investing CNY 24 billion (USD 3.5 billion) in two Chinese-made 1.08 gigawatt reactors, the People`s Daily said, citing local government officials.
Beijing has stepped up investment in nuclear power in an effort to slash carbon emissions and reduce the nation`s heavy reliance on coal, which accounts for 70 percent of its power needs but is highly polluting.
The world`s third largest economy aims to get 10 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2010 and 15 percent by 2020.
The CPR 1000 reactors have been designed by China Guangdong Nuclear Power Company based on foreign technology. The People`s Daily said 80 percent of the materials used to make the reactors were produced in China.
The first reactor is expected to be operational in 2015 and the second in 2016, the report said.
Compared with a coal-burning power station of similar scale, the two reactors will emit 14.8 million tonnes less carbon dioxide and 136,400 tonnes less sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide per year.
The plant will eventually have six reactors, each with a capacity of at least one gigawatt, the report said.
The nuclear power plant, approved last week, is one of the 23 projects announced by Beijing earlier this month for the country`s impoverished inland areas, with a total investment of CNY 682.2 billion.
Zhang Guobao, head of the National Energy Administration, said late last year that China had 11 nuclear power reactors in operation with a capacity of 9.1 gigawatts.
China aims to increase nuclear power capacity to 40 gigawatts by 2020, but the government has said that target could be raised.