China’s moves ahead with nuclear energy plans

In a series of statements, a trade association composed of members of China’s nuclear industry have been unusually open about the state of the new build in that country.

China’s moves ahead with nuclear energy plans
China is the world leader in aggressive plans for building new nuclear power stations so when their nuclear energy developers speak in a collective voice it is important to listen.

The head of the China Nuclear Energy Industry Association (CNEA), Zhang Huazhu, told Japanese English language wire services June 25 that, “the country’s nuclear policy, as well as its medium and long term goals, will not change.” But, he also said that some projects could be affected by internal reviews related to the nuclear disaster at Fukushima.

China has plans to significantly increase its nuclear fleet. Currently, the nation has 14 reactors in operation for 10 GWe of power, or less than 2% of total electricity production. The nation has said it will raise that number to 4% by 2020 through the construction of as many as 30 1,000 MW reactors. Four will be Westinghouse AP1000s.Two of the units will be Areva 1,600 MW EPRs, and several others will be Russian VVERs.

Overall, China has 25 reactors under construction. According to WNA additional reactors are planned, including some of the world’s most advanced, to give more than a ten-fold increase in nuclear capacity to at least 80 GWe by 2020, 200 GWe by 2030, and 400 GWe by 2050.

Nuclear Association Vice President Zhao Chengkun, said that the Chinese government had temporarily suspended applications for new reactors until it could complete safety reviews related to Fukushima. In a new development, the head of China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection told a visiting delegation of U.S. nuclear officials that it was committing funds for safety analyses and radiation protection at the new reactors.

China briefs U.S. on safety plans

On June 15 Vice Minister Li Ganjie told U.S. DOE nuclear program manager Pete Lyons the Chinese agency will complete its safety reviews by this October.

Vice Minister Li said, after the occurrence of Fukushima nuclear accident, the Chinese Government attached great importance to it with quick and effective response.

“We start doing the following two activities:

1) Large scale inspection on safety of nuclear power facilities. This work started in April and will be finished within 6 months. Among them, inspection on safety of all nuclear facilities under operation will be conducted in the first stage.”

In the second stage, we will carry out comprehensive review of the safety of all nuclear power plants under construction. At present, the work of the first stage has been finished with the safety check pace similar to that of EU and the United States.

2) Development of China National Plan for Nuclear Safety as soon as possible. The Chinese Government will suspend the review and approval of all new nuclear power plant projects before the approval of this Plan. “

It isn’t likely that the Chinese have stopped current construction projects so much as they are reviewing the plans for these units and those that are still on the drawing boards. Approvals of new projects could be delayed by up to two years according to a statement by Zheng Yuhui, Director of Research, at the China Nuclear Energy Association.

New legislative framework for China

According to the China Daily, Yuhui is involved in the drafting of a new nuclear energy legislative framework which began last April.

Zheng said at that time he believes the law will promote transparency in the industry and should include clauses that have been proven effective by past practice in other countries. He said such standard procedures as holding public hearings when deciding the location of new nuclear plants should be written into the legislation.

The China Daily reported that “insiders said” the draft law will include rules governing the exploitation of uranium resources, the management of nuclear materials, facilities, technology and spent nuclear fuel and emergency management as well as damage compensation.

The Energy Collective

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