US$2.9bn nuclear plant for China’s northeast

BEIJING, June 8 — Construction of northeast China’s first nuclear power plant is expected to go ahead next year, at an estimated cost of RMB23 billion (US$2.9 billion), according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Preparations have begun for construction of the first phase of the Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Plant, located at the Donggang Town of Wafangdian City in Liaoning Province, Zhang Guobao, vice minister of the NDRC, told a news conference in Beijing.

The first phase of the project will consist of two generating units each with an installed capacity of 1GW. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2011.

China is still in negotiations with foreign companies bidding for the country’s new generation of nuclear power stations according to Zhang.

The companies include the US firm Westinghouse (recently approved for takeover by Japanese Toshiba), the French Areva and a Russian nuclear firm: “China has not yet decided which one would be the winner of the contract,” he said.

At the news conference, Zhang stressed China’s commitement to meet its nuclear targets. He said although China’s plan to increase its nuclear power installed capacity to 40GW by 2020 “may be difficult to meet,” the target has not changed.

Zhang said the target will require China to build some 32 nuclear power units, each capable of generating at least 1GW, over the next 15 years.

China presently has nine nuclear generators in commercial operation with a total capacity of about 7GW.

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