12th Jun 2008

Nuclear Power in China

Source: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf63.html

Mainland China has eleven nuclear power reactors in commercial operation, six under construction, and several more about to start construction. 

Additional reactors are planned, including some of the world's most advanced, to give a sixfold increase in nuclear capacity to at least 50 GWe by 2020 and then a further three to fourfold increase to 120-160 GWe by 2030.

The country aims to become self-sufficient in reactor design and construction, as well as other aspects of the fuel cycle. 

Electricity demand is growing very rapidly. 

Mainland China is starting to rely heavily on imported uranium to fuel its nuclear power program. 

Most of mainland China's electricity is produced from fossil fuels (about 80%, mainly coal) and hydro power (about 18%). Two large hydro projects are under construction: Three Gorges of 18.2 GWe and Yellow River of 15.8 GWe. Rapid growth in demand has given rise to power shortages, and the reliance on fossil fuels has led to much air pollution. The economic loss due to pollution is put at 3-7% of GDP.

Nationally about 508 GWe was installed (15% growth in 2005) and 2475 billion kWh was generated in 2005.  In 2006 some 102 GWe of generating capacity was added - a 20% growth, and a further 91 GWe was added in 2007. About three quarters of the power is used in industry. While coal is the main energy source, most reserves are in the north or northwest and present an enormous logistic problem. The State Power Grid Corporation expects to supply 3810 billion kWh in 2010 from 850-900 GWe. Growth is then expected to slow to 2020, when capacity is expected to reach 1500 GWe. At the end of 2007 there was reported to be 145 GWe of hydro capacity, 554 GWe fossil fuel, 9 GWe nuclear and 4 GWe wind, total 713 GWe.

Because of the heavy reliance on old coal-fired plant, electricity generation accounts for much of the country's air pollution, which is a strong reason to increase nuclear share. China is the second-largest contributor to energy-related carbon dioxide emissions after the USA. The IEA (2004) predicted that its share in global emissions - mainly from the power sector - would increase from 14% in 202 to 19% in 2030, but this now looks conservative.

Moves to build nuclear power commenced in 1970 and the industry has now moved to a steady development phase. Technology has been drawn from France, Canada and Russia, with local development based largely on the French element. The latest technology acquisition has been from the USA and France.

Nuclear power has an important role, especially in the coastal areas remote from the coalfields and where the economy is developing rapidly. In 2007 it provided 62.86 billion kWh - 2.3% of total, and there is now 8.6 GWe (net) installed.

The government had planned to increase nuclear generating capacity to 40 GWe by 2020 (of total 1000 GWe then), with a further 18 GWe nuclear being under construction then, requiring an average of 2 GWe per year being added. In May 2007 the National Development and Reform Commission announced that its target for nuclear generation capacity in 2030 was 160 GWe.  In March 2008 the newly-formed State Energy Bureau (SEB) said that the target for 2020 should be at least 5% of electricity from nuclear power, requiring at least 50 GWe to be in operation by then.  In June 2008 the China Electrical Council projected 60 GWe of nuclear capacity by 2020.

The first two nuclear power plants in mainland China were at Daya Bay near Hong Kong and Qinshan, south of Shanghai, with construction starting in the mid 1980s.

Operating Mainland Nuclear Power Reactors 

Units Province Type Net capacity (each) Commercial operation Operator
Daya Bay-1 & 2
Guangdong
PWR
944 MWe
1994
CGNPC
Qinshan-1
Zhejiang
PWR
279 MWe
April 1994
CNNC
Qinshan-2 & 3
Zhejiang
PWR
610 MWe
2002, 2004
CNNC
Lingao-1 & 2
Guangdong
PWR
935 MWe
2002, 2003
CGNPC
Qinshan-4 & 5
Zhejiang
PHWR
665 MWe
2002, 2003
CNNC
Tianwan-1 & 2
Jiangsu
PWR (VVER)
1000 MWe
2007
CNNC
total (11) 8587 MWe

 Daya Bay reactors are standard 3-loop French PWR units supplied by Framatome, with GEC-Alstom turbines. Electricite de France (EDF) managed construction, starting August 1987, with the participation of Chinese engineers. Commercial operation of the two units was in February and May 1994. There were long outages in 1994-96 when Framatome had to replace major components. Reactor vessel heads were replaced in 2004. The plant produces about 13 billion kWh per year, with 70% transmitted to Hong Kong and 30% to Guangdong.

Lingao phase 1 reactors are virtually replicas of adjacent Daya Bay in Guangdong province. Construction started in May 1997 and Lingao-1 started up in February 2002 entering commercial operation in May. Lingao-2 was connected to the grid about September 2002 and entered commercial operation in January 2003. The two Lingao reactors use French technology supplied by Framatome ANP, but with 30% localisation. They are now designated CPR-1000. They are reported to have cost $1800 per kilowatt.

Daya Bay and Lingao together comprise the "Daya Bay nuclear power base" under the common management of Daya Bay Nuclear Power Operations & Management Co (DNMC), part of China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (CGNPC).

Qinshan-1, in Zhejiang province 100 km SW of Shanghai, is China's first indigenously-designed and constructed nuclear power plant (though with the pressure vessel supplied by Mitsubishi, Japan). Design was by the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research & Design Institute (SNERDI). Construction work spanned 6.5 years from March 1985, with criticality in Dec 1991. It was shut down for 14 months for major repairs from mid 1998.

In October 2007 Qinshan-1 is being shut down for a major upgrade which is expected to take two months - a very short period for what is involved. The entire instrument and control system will be replaced, along with the reactor pressure vessel head and control rod drives. Areva NP is supervising the work, which is likely to lead to life extension beyond the original 30 years.

Qinshan phase 2 (units 2 and 3) are locally-designed and constructed 2-loop reactors, scaled up from Qinshan-1, and designated CNP-600. Unit 2 started up at the end of 2001 and entered commercial operation in April 2002. Unit 3 started up in March 2004, with commercial operation in May 2004.

Qinshan phase 3 (units 4 and 5) use the CANDU 6 Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) technology, with Atomic Energy of Canada (AECL) being the main contractor of the project on a turnkey basis. Construction began in 1997. They are each about 665 MWe net. Unit 4 started up in September 2002 and unit 5 in April 2003.

Tianwan phase 1 at at Lianyungang city in Jiangsu province is a Russian AES-91 power plant (with two 1060 MWe VVER reactors) constructed under a cooperation agreement between China and Russia - the largest such project ever. The cost is reported to be US$ 3.2 billion, with China contributing $1.8 billion of this. The reactors incorporate Finnish safety features and Siemens-Areva instrumentation and control systems. Completion was delayed due to corrosion in the steam generators which resulted in some tubes having to be plugged with a net loss of capacity of about 2%. The first unit was grid connected in May 2006 and put into commercial operation in June 2007. The second was grid connected in May 2007, with commercial operation in August 2007. Design life is 40 years.

Tenth Economic Plan (2001-2005) - stepping up to Generation-3 technology

The 10th 5-year plan incorporated the construction of eight nuclear power plants, though the timeline for contracts was extended, putting the last two into the 11th plan.  In May 2004 the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) applied to build eight (4 pairs of) new reactors, four of them for China Guangdong Nuclear Power Company (CGNPC):

Lingao phase 2 (Lingdong) in Guangdong province, to duplicate the CPR-1000 Lingao nuclear plant, based on the same Framatome technology as phase 1.
Qinshan phase 4 in Zhejiang province, duplicating the indigenous CNP-600 units, upgraded to 650 MWe.
Sanmen, in Zhejiang province, using advanced foreign technology and design, and
Yangjiang, in Guangdong province, 500 km west of Hong Kong, similarly (originally).

In July 2004 the State Council formally approved the two CPR-1000 units at Lingao.

The two CNP-600 Qinshan units of 650 MWe were subsequently approved and CNNC announced that the next two there would be 1000 MWe indigenous units (now seen as very unlikely or much delayed).

In September 2004 the State Council approved plans for two units at Sanmen, followed by six units at Yangjiang (two to start with), these to be 1000 or 1500 MWe reactors. The Sanmen and Yanjiang plants were subject to an open bidding process for third-generation designs from overseas, with contracts being awarded in mid 2006 - in the event, mid 2007.

This open bidding process underlines the extent to which China is maiking itself part of the world nuclear industry, and yet somewhat ambivalent about that.

While this bidding process was in train over more than two years, the Guangdong Nuclear Power Group signed contracts with Chinese designers and manufacturers for two CPR-1000 reactors as phase 2 of the Lingao power station.  Construction started in December 2005 and the 1080 MWe units (based on Lingao phase 1 designs) are due on line in 2010 and 2011.  Unit 1 of Lingao phase 2 (Lingdong) will be 50% localised and unit 2 will be 70% localised, under the project management of China Nuclear Power Engineering Corporation (CNPEC), part of CGNPC.  Turbine-generator sets are being provided by Alstom.

Construction of Qinshan phase 4 (or second stage of phase II) was formally inaugurated at the end of April 2006, though first concrete had been poured for unit 6 in March.  That for unit 7 was poured in January 2007.  Local content of the two 650 MWe CNP-600 reactors will be more than 70% and scheduled construction time is 60 months.

Three bids were received for the four Sanmen and Yangjiang reactors: from Westinghouse (AP1000 reactors), Areva (EPR) and Atomstroyexport (V-392 version of VVER-1000). The State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC), directly under China's State Council, is in charge of technology selection for new plants being bid from overseas.

The US, French and Russian governments were reported to be giving firm support as finance and support arrangements were put in place. The US Export-Import bank approved $5 billion in loan guarantees for the Westinghouse bid, and the French Coface company was expected similarly to finance Areva for Framatome ANP's bid. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave approval for Westinghouse to export equipment and engineering services as well as the initial fuel load and one replacement for the four units. Bids for both 2-unit plants were received in Beijing on behalf of the two customers: China Guangdong Nuclear Power Co (CGNPC) for Yangjiang, and CNNC for Sanmen (in Zhejiang province). Bids were for the nuclear portion of each plant only, the turbine tenders to be called for subsequently.

Bids were assessed on level of technology, the degree to which it is proven, price, local content, and technology transfer - which apparently became the major factor. Areva and Westinghouse were short-listed, with their third-generation technology. However, the decision on reactor type was delayed, and came under review at the highest political level, with CNNC evidently pushing for the use of indigenous second-generation designs for both sites.

In December 2006, 22 months after the bids were submitted and after several revisions to them, the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor design was selected for four units at Sanmen and Yangjiang, later changed to Haiyang in the more northerly Shandong province. This will give China a leading position with late 3rd generation reactor technology and provide the platform for China's further nuclear technology development. SNPTC is responsible for all this and is expected to become the licensee for the AP1000 units, the first of which are expected to be operating at Sanmen in 2013. Project control will be with CNNC for Sanmen and China Power Investment Corporation (CPI) for Haiyang.

At the end of February 2007 a framework agreement was signed between Westinghouse and SNPTC specifying Haiyang in Shandong province (see 11th Plan below) as the site of the second pair of AP1000 units, with Sanmen. In April 2007 Westinghouse signed a US$ 350 million contract with Doosan Heavy Industries in Korea for two pressure vessels and four steam generators. Those for the other two AP1000 units are likely to be made in China: the reactor vessels and steam generators by Harbin Boiler Works, First Heavy Machinery Works, or Shanghai Electric Co (SEC). Korea Power Engineering Co. (KOPEC) and Shanghai Nuclear Energy Research & Design Institute (SNERDI) will have major engineering roles.

In July 2007 Westinghouse, along with consortium partner Shaw, signed the AP1000 contracts with SNPTC, Sanmen Nuclear Power Company, Shangdong Nuclear Power Company (a subsidiary of CPI) and China National Technical Import & Export Corporation (CNTIC). Specific terms were not disclosed but the figure of $5.3 billion for the deal was widely quoted.  Sanmen site works commenced in February 2008 and full construction for unit 1 is to start in March 2009, with the first power expected late in August 2013.

Choice of steam turbine generators for the four AP1000 units was by CNNC and CPI, not SNPTC.  CNNC selected Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and partner Harbin Power Equipment Co as supplier for Sanmen, and CPI selected the same suppliers for Haiyang.  This will reportedly boost the capacity of the plants from their designed 1175 MWe to 1250 MWe gross.  Siemens, Alstom and Mitsubishi were bidding as subcontractors to Chinese firms.  In September 2007 Sanmen Nuclear Power Co signed a $521 million contract for two steam turbine generators of 1200 MWe.  In January 2008 Shandong Nuclear Power Co. Ltd ordered the same for Haiyang.

In February 2007 it was reported that EdF had entered a cooperation agreement with CGNPC to build and operate a 2-unit EPR power station This deal was not expected to involve the technology transfer which is central to the Westinghouse contracts, since the EPR has multiple redundant safety systems rather than passive safety systems and is seen to be more complex and expensive, hence of less long-term interest to China. However, negotiations with Areva and EdF dragged on and in August 2007 it was announced that the EPR project had been shuffled to Taishan so that CPR-1000 units could be built at Yangjiang as soon as possible.  See Taishan below.

Yangjiang will be the second nuclear power base of the Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, which has long preferred French technology. Development of all six units of the plant was approved in 2004, and site works are well under way. .  Now that the CPR-1000 has been confirmed as technology for it, construction of the first two units is expected to start in September 2008, for commercial operation in 2013.  The second pair of units will follow closely, then the final two.  Yangjiang 1-6 and a further 14 units, along with six units at Lingao and Daya Bay, will be operated under regional DNMC management.

Nuclear reactors under construction and about to start construction

 

Plant Province MWe gross Type Project control Start const. Operation
Lingao-2
(units 3 & 4)
Guangdong
2x1080
CPR-1000
CGNPC
12/05, 5/06
10/10, 2011
Qinshan 4
(units 6 & 7)
Zhejiang
2x650
CNP-600
CNNC
4/06, 1/07
2011, 2012
Hongyanhe 1
(units 1-4)
Liaoning
4x1080
CPR-1000
CGNPC
8/07, 4/08, 3/09, 7/10
10/12, 2014
Yangjiang 1
(units 1-2)
Guangdong
2x1080
CPR-1000
CGNPC
9/08, 2/09
5/13, 2015
Ningde 1
(units 1-2)
Fujian
2x1080
CPR-1000
CGNPC
2/08, 9/08,
12/12-2013
Sanmen 1
(units 1 & 2)
Zhejiang
2x1100
AP1000
CNNC
3/2009
8/13, 2014
Haiyang
(units 1 & 2)
Shandong
2x1100
AP1000
CPI
9/2009
2014-15
Taishan 1 Guangdong
2x1700

EPR

CGNPC 

8/09, 1/10

11/13, 2015

Shidaowan Shandong

200

HTR-PM China Huaneng

early 2009

2013
 Fangjiashan (Qinshan 5) Zhejiang 2x1000/1080

CNP-1000 

/CPR-1000

CNNC 6/2009 2013 & 14
total 21 22,260 MWe

Eleventh economic plan 2006-10 - more emphasis on basic technology

The Eleventh 5-year plan 2006-10 has firmer environmental goals than previously, including reduction of 20% in the amount of energy required per unit of GDP, ie 4% reduction per year.

Nuclear power developments originally proposed in the 11th 5-year plan included:
four CPR-1000 units at Hongyanhe, Liaoning province (NE),
two 1000 MWe units at Haiyang, Shandong province (now 1100 MWe AP1000),
two 1000 MWe units at Hui'an/Fuqing, Fujian province,
two units at Hongshiding, Rushan city, Shandong province,
two units at Tianwei, Lufeng in Guangdong province,
two units at Taishan in Guangdong.

In 2007 it was announced that three state-owned corporations have been approved to own and operate nuclear power plants: CNNC, CGNPC and CPI. Any other public or private companies are to have minority shares in new projects. CPI is also expected to determine where the next Generation 3 reactor is built.  CGNPC is increasingly preeminent in actual nuclear power plants.

Construction of the first unit of the Hongyanhe nuclear power plant in Donggang town at Wafangdian, 100 km north of Dalian, Liaoning started in August 2007, though site works had been under way since July 2006. The cost of all four 1080 MWe CPR-1000 units in phase 1 is put at RMB 50 billion (US$ 6.6 billion). China Nuclear Power Engineering Corporation (CNPEC), part of CGNPC, is managing the project - the first nuclear plant in the northeast of China. Shanghai Electric won a US$ 260 million contract for equipment and Alstom is to provide the four turbine-generator sets for US$ 184 million. Commercial operation is planned for 2012-14.

Haiyang in Shandong province, controlled by CPI, had been mentioned as the likely site of further Generation 3 reactors in China, if an early decision was made to buy two EPR units. However, this became the second site for a pair of Westinghouse AP1000 reactors. The Shandong Nuclear Power Company Ltd was set up in 2004 as a subsidiary of CPI to build and operate the $3.25 billion Haiyang nuclear power project. Work on the site has started and first concrete is expected about September 2009.

Construction of the 6-unit  Ningde nuclear power plant commenced early in 2008.  This is at Qinyu, Ningde city in northeast of Fujian province and phase 1 comprises four CPR-1000 units costing $7.145 billion.  Construction of four units was approved by the National Development & Reform Commission (NRDC) in September 2006, and local content will be over 70%.  CGNPC expects commercial operation of the first unit in 2012, with the others following to 2015.

The Taishan nuclear plant in Guangdong province was planned by CGNPC to have six 1000 MWe class units but will now host Areva's 1650 MWe EPR units, starting with two of them stretched to 1700 MWe.  In November 2007 Areva finalised a contract with CGNPC for the first two nuclear units plus supply of fuel to 2026 and other materials and services for them.  The steam turbines and 1750 MWe generators are being purchased separately from Alstom and Dongfang.  CGNPC and Areva are also setting up a 50-50 engineering joint venture as a technology transfer vehicle for development of this and future EPR plants in China and perhaps abroad, building on Areva's European experience.

EdF will take a 30% share in the Taishan project as joint venture partner with CGNPC in the Taishan Nuclear Power Company which will oversee the building, then own and operate the plant. The whole project, including fuel supply, totals EUR 8 billion, of which the nuclear reactors themselves are reported to be about EUR 3.5 billion.  Steam turbine generators costing EUR 300 million are included in the larger sum.  (EdF is project manager and architect for the Flamanville-3 EPR project in France, and this initiative consolidates its change in corporate strategy outside France as expressed already in the UniStar JV set up in mid 2007 with Constellation in USA to build, own and operate a fleet of US-EPRs in North America.)

Further nuclear power units possible in 11th economic plan (2006-10) 

Plant Province MWe gross Type Project control Start construction Operation
Yangjiang 2 (Units 3&4)
Guangdong
2x1080
CPR-1000
CGNPC
9/09, 7/10
2014, 15
 Ningde 2
(units 3 & 4)
Fujian 2x1080 CPR-1000 CGNPC 7/09, 3/10 2014, 15
Tianwan 2
Jiangsu
2x1060
AES-91
CNNC
2008?
 
Honshiding 1
Rushan
Shandong
2x1080
CPR-1000
CNEC/CNNC
2009
2015
Fuqing 1
Fujian
2x1080
CPR-1000
CNNC
11/2008?
2013, 2014
 Bailong 1 Gunagxi 2x1080 CPR-1000 CGNPC late 2010 2016
 Lianyungang
Jiangsu
2x1080
CPR-1000 CGNPC late 2010 2016
Tianwei/Shanwei
Lufeng
Guangdong
2x1080
CPR-1000
CGNPC
2011
2018
 Wuhu 1
(Bamaoshan)

Anhui

2x1080

CRP-1000

CGNPC

late 2011

2017

 

total 18

 
19,400
 
 
 

 

 

 

 


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