BEIJING Feb 28 China's environment ministry has
given the initial go-ahead for the construction of two new
AP1000 nuclear reactors designed by U.S.-based Westinghouse in
the eastern coastal province of Shandong, it said late on
The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) said the
proposed new reactors at the Haiyang nuclear facility in the
city of Yantai will cost a total of 31.4 billion yuan ($5.1
billion), invested by state-owned utility China Power
The ministry published the project's 395-page environmental
impact assessment in full on its website (www.mep.gov.cn) and
said it is open to further suggestions and opinions from the
public until March 5.
China will be the first country to build Westinghouse's
third-generation reactor model, with two units already in
construction at Haiyang and another two being built at the
Sanmen facility in Zhejiang province.
The first unit at Haiyang was originally due to go into full
operation late this year, but an industry source said next year
was now a more realistic timeframe.
China is planning to raise its total nuclear installed
capacity to 58 gigawatts (GW) by the end of 2020, up from 14.6
GW at the end of 2013. It currently has a total of 31 reactor
units under construction with a total capacity of 33.85 GW, 8.6
GW of which is expected to go into operation in 2014.
The country's top energy official, Wu Xinxiong, told a
national government meeting in January that China would "launch
approvals of key nuclear projects" this year.
After a tsunami in northeast Japan left the Fukushima
reactor complex close to meltdown in 2011, China conducted a
nationwide safety check and promised to build only safer
third-generation models like the AP1000 and the European
Pressurised Reactor (EPR) developed by France's Areva
China is currently building two EPRs in southeastern
China's own third-generation model, known as the CAP1400, is
based on Westinghouse's AP1000 design and was given preliminary
approval by the National Energy Administration last month.
Westinghouse, owned by Japan's Toshiba, has been
working with Chinese partners like the State Nuclear Power
Technology Company (SNPTC) to develop local supply chains and
the collaboration will allow the two sides to make joint bids
for nuclear projects overseas, the U.S. energy secretary Ernest
Moniz told reporters in Beijing last October.
($1 = 6.1284 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Richard Pullin)