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January 06, 2011

China targets 48.5 Gigawatts of nuclear power by 2015 and other nuclear news

1. China's top energy official Zhang Guobao says China will increase its nuclear power capacity by 38 gigawatts and hydropower capacity by 140 gigawatts by 2015 This would increase China's nuclear power to about 50 GWe and hydropower to about 330 GWe in 2015.

China has 13 nuclear reactors operating now and generating about 10.5 GWe

He did not give any forecast for wind power, but said there would be more large-scale windfarms in provinces such as Inner Mongolia and Gansu.

I do not see any reason to think that the second half of the decade being slower for China's energy additions than the first half. Hydropower has a limit to how many rivers can be economically dammed. China's nuclear energy should then at least be 86 GWe in 2020 by having the second half keep pace with the first half of the decade. If China hits the 48.5 GWe target then I would think that the 112 GWe levels or higher that have been mentioned would be very likely. The 2020 level would then likely exceed the level of US nuclear power generation. The USA is the current world leader in nuclear power generation.



France now has 58 nuclear reactors operated by Electricite de France (EdF), with total capacity of over 63 GWe, supplying over 430 billion kWh per year of electricity. They have one 1700 MW reactor under construction.

Today, Japan has 54 reactors generating 47.5 GWe of capacity (net). Japan has two reactors under construction that will generate 2756 MW.

The USA has 101.1 GWe of nuclear power coming from 104 reactors and one reactor and some uprates should be completed by 2015.

Russia has nuclear generating capacity of 23 GWe gross (21.7 net) in 2006 and is trying to bet to 35 GWe in 2016.

So if China hits the 2015 target it will be close to third place, but likely fourth behind the USA, France and Japan.

2. The date for the fourth nuclear power plant in Taiwan to begin commercial operations will be pushed back another year, mainly due to problems with the plant's instrumentation and control system

Work on the No. 1 generator at the plant is almost finished and it is being tested, the company said. The No.1 generator was scheduled to begin commercial operations on Dec. 15, 2011, and the No. 2 generator in December 2012.

However, Taipower Chairman Chen Kuei-ming said in a meeting of the Legislative Yuan's Economics Committee that the No. 1 generator probably will not begin commercial operations until late 2012.

Taipower's expenditure will increase by NT$400 million to NT$600 million for every month that the opening of the plant is delayed.

Chen promised that his company will keep the expenditure from the latest delay within NT$10 billion.

3. China has approved another four nuclear reactor projects

China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) has received governmental approval to begin preliminary work on four new nuclear power reactors: two at the existing Tianwan site in Jiangsu province and two at the new Xudabao plant in Liaoning province.

The approval came from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and should lead to the construction of Tianwan 3 and 4 (Phase II of the plant) and the first two units at Phase I of Xudabao.

At Tianwan, CNNC will construct two 1060 MWe Russian-supplied VVER-1000 pressurised water reactors, alongside the existing two such units at the site.

4. China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC), the country's largest nuclear power developer, has started building a third reactor at its Fuqing nuclear power station in coastal Fujian province.

The generating unit was scheduled to be commercially operational in July 2015, CNNC said. The first reactor in Fuqing was scheduled to be operational il November 2013 and the second in September 2014. A fourth unit was expected to be in use in May 2016

5. The Spanish government granted power companies permission to expand the capacity of two nuclear reactors, reversing previous opposition to the technology as the country struggles to pay for its electricity

The reactors at the Almaraz plant in the western region of Extremadura owned by Iberdrola SA, Endesa SA and Gas Natural SDG SA will each see their capacity boosted by 70 megawatts to 1050 megawatts. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero who opposes nuclear power in 2009 ordered the Garona reactor be shut down by 2013. The government last week boosted power prices by 9.8 percent even as it announced that the electricity system faces a greater-than-expected shortfall this year.

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