China commissions new nuclear plant after two-year ban



Beijing: China on Sunday commissioned the first phase of its 6000 MW Hongyanhe nuclear power station, the first to be operationalised after a two-year ban on construction of new atomic power plants following the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.

The first unit of the Hongyanhe nuclear power station in the coastal Liaoning Province in North East China started operation today, Yang Xiaofeng, the general manager of Liaoning Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Co Ltd, told state-run Xinhua news agency.

China, which has 15 nuclear power-generating units in operation with a total installed capacity of 12.54 Gigawatts, has resumed construction of new nuclear plants last month after the two-year ban.

China is currently constructing another 26 nuclear reactors to add another 29.24 GW, according to a government white paper on energy policy released in October last year.

The Hongyanhe nuclear power station is the first to be commissioned after government lifted the ban saying that new plants have been approved after a review of safety features.

Construction on the first phase of the Hongyanhe project, which features four power generation units to be built at a cost of CNY 50 billion (USD 7.96 billion) began in 2007 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2015, Yang said.

The four units will generate 30 billion kilowatt-hours (kwh) of electricity annually by then, accounting for 16 percent of the total electricity consumption in Liaoning Province, Yang said.

Construction on the second phase of the project, which features two power generation units to be built with an investment of CNY 25 billion, started in May 2010 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, he said.

The power plant will generate 45 billion kwh of electricity after it is fully completed in 2016, he said.

The plant's construction is highly localised, with more than 80 percent of the parts and components it features being produced locally, Yang said.

It is also the first Chinese nuclear power plant to use seawater desalination technology to provide cooling water, he said.

The plant is located near the county-level city of Wafangdian, which is 110 km away from Dalian Port.

PTI