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China starts building Yangjiang nuclear plant

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has started building a new nuclear power plant in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, the second of three Beijing aimed to begin constructing in the final two months of the year.

Beijing had said the construction of 10 nuclear reactors with 1 GW of capacity each in Fujian, Zhejiang and Guangdong would begin before year-end, when it unveiled plans last month for other large energy projects to boost infrastructure investment to buffer against the impact of the global financial crisis.

The 70 billion yuan ($10.2 billion) Yangjiang plant, in Yangjiang City, will have six units with each having one gigawatt of power generating capacity, the plant operator, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, said on its website (www.cgnpc.com.cn).

Yangjiang will adopt CPR1000, a home-grown pressurised water reactor technology, and the first unit is scheduled to begin operations in 2013, the operator said.

All six units will be built by 2017, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Last month, China launched the construction of the Fuqing nuclear plant in neighbouring Fujian province that would also house six reactors of 1 GW each, according to project operator China National Nuclear Corporation.

The planned reactors in the two plants have exceeded the number that Beijing said would be built.

For a factbox of China’s nuclear power plants and plans, please click on [nPEK201749].

China’s voracious energy appetite has shown signs of easing amid the looming economic recession, but its heavy reliance on dirty coal has created mounting environmental challenges for the authorities.

The government set ambitious goals to cut energy use per unit of gross domestic product by 20 percent in the five year through 2010 while reducing emissions of pollutants, but so far it has failed to meet the set targets.

China wants to speed up its nuclear power expansion and it has lifted the targeted share of nuclear capacity in the power mix to 5 percent by 2020 from an original plan of 4 percent.

China currently has only 9 GW of nuclear power capacity, or about 1.3 percent of its total.

($1=6.844 Yuan)

Reporting by Jim Bai, Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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