Nuclear power remains ‘of great significance’ to China

24 October 2012

China’s installed nuclear power capacity is expected to reach 40 GW by 2015, according to ‘China's Energy Policy 2012,’ an official white paper released on 24 October.

The document states that nuclear power development “is of great significance” to China for optimizing its energy structure and ensuring its energy security. It also pledges to invest more in nuclear technology, improve equipment levels and place greater importance on personnel training.

Currently just 1.8% of China's total power output comes from nuclear power, compared with a world average of 14%.

In 2011, the county had fifteen nuclear power generating units in operation, with a total installed capacity of 12.54 GW. This compared with 230 GW of hydropower, 47 GW of wind power, three GW of solar PV, the document said, along with a large amount of fossil-fuel generation.

Another 26 nuclear units, or 29.24 GW of capacity, were under construction, “leading the world,” the policy said.

The policy stresses that nuclear safety and security is essential for nuclear power development, and a key concept of China’s programme.

“Upholding a scientific and rational concept of nuclear security, China implements the principle of ‘safety first’ in the whole process of nuclear power station planning, site selection, R&D, design, construction, operation and decommissioning,” it said.

China conducted comprehensive safety inspections at all nuclear power plants following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and “the results show that nuclear security is guaranteed in China,” according to the document.

The country has also has recently approved an 80 billion yuan plan for nuclear security and the prevention and treatment of radioactive contamination, which runs from 2011 to 2015. It includes a roadmap for improving nuclear safety to reach international standards by 2020.

The recent energy policy also pledged to invest more in nuclear power technological innovations, promote application of advanced technology, improve the equipment level, and attach great importance to personnel training.

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