China's State Council approves six new power units

15 August 2023

China’s State Council of China, chaired by Premier Li Qian, has approved the construction of six nuclear power units: units 5&6 of the Ningde NPP in Fujian Province; units 1&2 of the Shidaowan NPP in Shandong Province, and units 1&2 of the Xudabao NPP in Liaoning Province. The total investment in the construction of the six approved power units is estimated at 120 billion yuan ($16.8 billion), according to China Daily.

These decisions were the first approvals of Chinese nuclear energy projects in 2023. In 2022, a total of 10 new nuclear power units were approved. the State Council said in a statement: "Safety and quality will be the top priority in the construction of these projects."

China General Nuclear (CGN), in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, said that China's HPR1000 (Hualong One) pressurised water reactors will be installed at Ningde 5&6. Currently CGN and Ningde Second Nuclear Power Co Ltd are carrying out various preparatory works for the construction of the units, the report says. "Construction will begin after obtaining permission … from the National Administration for nuclear security."

CGN noted that the Ningde NPP was the first nuclear plant to be built and put into operation in Fujian Province. The station currently consists of four 1018 MWe CPR1000 power units, which began commercial operation between April 2013 and July 2016. As of 30 June, the total electricity generation by the four units (Stage I) totalled 257.9TWh," the report notes.

CGN also said that the construction permit had been received for two Hualong One units for Shidaowan NPP 1&2 "under the management of the Huaneng Group, which is fully involved in the construction of the CGN project".

China Huaneng noted that the two new units have already "passed through a comprehensive safety review and are included in the national plan”. The company added: “The Shidaowan Phase 1 Expansion Project is the second large-scale pressurised water reactor NPP project developed by China Huaneng Holdings after the second phase of the Changjiang NPP."

The Shidaowan site currently hosts two HTR-PM small high temperature gas-cooled micro-pebble reactors, which first reached full capacity in December 2022. The HTR-PM project consists of two small reactors that drive one 210 MWe turbine. It is owned by a consortium led by China Huaneng (47.5%), a subsidiary of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) – China Nuclear Engineering Corporation (32.5%) and the Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technologies of Tsinghua University (20%), who is the head of research and development.

Meanwhile, CNNC's subsidiary, China Nuclear Power Co Ltd, announced to the Shanghai Stock Exchange that it had received permission to build units 1&2 of the Xudabao NPP, without disclosing the design of the planned reactors but noted that the capacity of each of them will be 1291 MWe. "CNNC Liaoning Nuclear Power Co Ltd, controlled by our company, is the owner of the approved project and is responsible for project investment, construction and operation management," CNNC noted."

The Xudabao NPP project was originally envisioned to consist of six Chinese-designed CAP1000 reactors, with units 1&2 to be built in the first phase. Site preparation began in November 2010. The National Development & Reform Commission approved the project in 2011 and in 2014, the National Nuclear Safety Administration approved the site selection. However, the construction of these units has not yet begun. A change in plans, in July 2021 and May 2022, led to the start of construction of two Russian VVER-1200 units as Xudabao 3&4.

Image: The Ningde site (courtesy of Rosatom)

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