Boom Times For China's Nuclear Power Industry
One might say these are boom times for China's nuclear power industry, and that's a good thing... so far. Only four Chinese nuclear power plants were operating at the beginning of 2012 but that number will, er, explode to 15 by the end of 2015.
Let's take a look at these existing, under construction and planned power stations in the order of their start-up dates.
1) Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant
Talk about a work in progress: the Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant was the first of its kind in China and, someday, it will be the nation's largest with nearly a dozen reactors of various types.
Located on the coast of Zhejiang province just south of Shanghai, the Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant's first nuclear reactor began operating in late 1991. For the past 10 years it has operated without an event (in other words, an accident) rating 2 on the International Nuclear Event Scale. (Chinese nuclear plant images via CNN World and Go Green Go Nuclear)
2) Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant
Though frequently the focus of Hong Kong-based anti-nuclear protests, the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant's pair of French-built nuclear reactors have won numerous awards for safe operation. The reactors began operations on August 31st, 1993, and February 2nd, 1994.
Located just north of Hong Kong in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, the outwardly attractive reactor buildings are referred to as Guangdong-1 and Guangdong-2 in the IAEA's PRIS database. (Chinese nuclear plant images via HKNIC and Energy.gov)
The prototype HTR-10 pebble bed reactor located at Beijing's Tsinghua University is a 10-megawatt-rated power plant based on the German HTR-MODUL design. This type of reactor design generates hydrogen as a byproduct which, instead of being wastefully vented, can be stored and used later as a cheap, non-polluting fuel for fuel cell powered vehicles.
Construction began on the HTR-10 in 1995 and, following successful testing, the reactor began producing power in January of 2003. (Chinese nuclear plant images via Robert Hargraves and Anti-Atom-Aktuel)
4) Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant
The Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant is China's largest nuclear plant. Consisting of two 1,000 MW capacity VVER pressurized water reactors constructed by Russia's Atomstroyexport, the plant began full operation on August 16th, 2007.
Plans are in the works to add up to six additional reactors to the complex beginning in 2018, giving the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant a total power generation capacity of 8,400 MW. (Chinese nuclear plant images via China Daily and CTV News)
5) Ling'Ao Nuclear Power Plant
Situated just 1 km north of the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant in Shenzhen, the Ling'Ao Nuclear Power Plant's two French-based, 938 MW PWR reactors comprising Phase I began full operations in 2002 and 2003.
An additional two reactors of the CPR-1000 design known as Ling'Ao phase II came online in September of 2010 and August of 2011 respectively. The plant, located about 60km from Hong Kong, now boasts a total power generation capacity of 4,000 MW. (Chinese nuclear plant images via NEC and TEPC)