CEC calls for revised nuclear power goals

Updated: 2011-03-29 13:53

By Liu Yiyu (China Daily)

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Council suggests putting inland plant projects on temporary hold

BEIJING - China should trim its planned nuclear capacity and slow down the development of nuclear power plants in inland regions, the China Electricity Council (CEC) has suggested.

The nation should reduce its current plans for 90 gigawatt (gW) capacity by 2020 by at least 10 gW, said Wei Zhaofeng, deputy director of the CEC. "The industry is likely to miss our earlier prediction of achieving 40 gW of nuclear capacity by 2015."

Those predictions were made in a CEC report released in December.

Nuclear power, which currently produces only 1 percent of the energy used in China, will account for no more than 3 percent of its energy consumption because of an adjustment in industry policy, Wei said.

The nuclear power industry was expected to contribute 5 percent of the nation's energy by 2020, when 15 percent of the energy would be generated by non-fossil fuels. Adjustments are now likely in the policy for building nuclear power plants in inland regions such as Liaoning, Jilin, Henan, Hubei and Jiangxi provinces, Wei said.

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The CEC's remarks came after the crisis in Japan, which has raised doubts about the safety of the nuclear power industry.

China is expected to soon announce a new target for the nuclear industry. It will complete the energy development guidelines for the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015) by the end of March, said Qian Zhimin, deputy director of the National Energy Administration (NEA), which is leading the effort.

Initially, the nation had set a target of 40 gW in nuclear capacity by 2020, but industry experts said that goal is likely to be met by 2015, based on the progress made.

The former head of the NEA Zhang Guobao said earlier this year that the target would be raised to 86 gW by 2020.

China now has 13 nuclear reactors in operation, along the eastern and southern coasts. To meet the energy demand, it is also considering building several inland nuclear power plants in provinces such as Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, and Jilin, in addition to the municipality of Chongqing.

"These plans will be put on hold for some time," he said.

Liaoning and Fujian provinces, where nuclear power plants are either under construction or in operation, are situated in a seismic zone.

China will take the events in Japan into account when formulating its five-year energy development plan, Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, said on March 14. The State Council halted the approval of nuclear projects on March 16.


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