China has begun construction of a 23km main nuclear heat transmission pipe network that will connect Yantai with Weihai in Shandong province. State Power Investment Corp (SPIC) said this is the support facility for the third phase of the 900 MW nuclear power-based district heating project in Shandong province. Total investment for the project is put at CNY700m ($102m). The project also includes a heat source distribution centre that will apply intelligent scheduling management and a control platform for parameter monitoring, SPIC added.

Although nuclear heating is still in its infancy, the project will provide valuable experience to further promote similar heating schemes nationwide, said Lin Boqiang, head of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University.

The Haiyang NPP in Shandong has a heating system connected to two traditional nuclear units, making it the first commercial attempt in China to supply heat from traditional nuclear power. The system extracts non-radioactive steam from the secondary circuit of Haiyang’s unit 2. This is then fed through a multi-stage heat exchanger at an on-site heat exchange station.

SPIC began the first-phase of its nuclear heating project in Shandong in 2019. This provided 700,000 square metres of heating, and was followed by the second phase in 2021 that supplied five square metres.

The third phase is currently under construction and is expected to start providing heating during this year's heating season. It will cover 30m million square metres and is expected to meet heating demand of a million residents. It will also see a several-fold reduction in carbon reduction is expected to increase several times over, SPIC said.

Eventually, SPIC plans to extend the heating area to the entire Jiaodong peninsula. "The heat pipe network marks the official start of China's first long-distance nuclear energy heat supply pipeline network project across prefecture-level cities," SPIC said. "It will realise cross-regional intercommunication and sharing of zero-carbon heat sources."

Another nuclear heating project is underway in southern Zhejiang Province where the first phase was commissioned in December 2021 based on the Qinshan NPP. This now provides nuclear energy-generated central heating to 460,000 square metres of accommodation in three residential areas and 5,000 square metres of apartments for nearly 4,000 residents of Haiyan County. This project is also being implemented in three phases. The overall goal is to extend heating to an area of ​​4m square metres by 2025, covering the main urban area of ​​Haiyan County and the entire area of ​​Shupu Town.

Image: The Haiyang NPP in Shandong Province (courtesy of VCG)