BEIJING, Jan 18 (Reuters) - China may resume approvals for new nuclear power projects in the first half of this year after suspending them for nearly a year following the Fukushima disaster in Japan last March, China media reported on Wednesday.
The government will resume approving new plants after the announcement of the nuclear safety plan which recently won clearance from the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), the China Securities Journal said.
The report also said in order to meet the government-set target of having non-fossil fuels to supply 15 percent of China's primary energy use by 2020, the total installed nuclear capacity should not fall under 70 gigawatts (GW) by then.
It cited the China Nuclear Society as saying this but did not give a more specific target.
Industry players have earlier predicted bullish targets at 86 GW or even higher by the end of this decade.
China has about 11.9 GW of working nuclear capcity -- or just 1.1 percent of the country's total installed power capacity -- but projects under construction would have pushed the total above 41 GW by as early as 2015.
Another 16 GW in plant capacity is in the early stage of development, the paper said.
To meet the 70-GW target by 2020, China will need to approve at least another 10 GW of projects before 2015, considering the time to build a reactor takes at least 5 years, said the paper.
For a factbox of China's nuclear power plants and plans:
Reporting by Chen Aizhu; Editing by Jacqueline Wong