District heating project launched at Hongyanhe

16 March 2022

A cooperation agreement on the construction, operation and maintenance of a demonstration nuclear heating project at the Hongyanhe nuclear power plant in China's Liaoning province has been signed by Liaoning Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Company and State Power Investment Northeast Electric Power Company.

The six-unit Hongyanhe site (Image: CGN)

The Hongyanhe plant is owned and operated by Liaoning Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Company, a joint venture between China General Nuclear (CGN) and State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC), each holding a 45% stake, with the Dalian Municipal Construction Investment Company holding the remaining 10%.

On 9 March, Liaoning Hongyanhe Nuclear Power signed an agreement with Liaoning's largest central heating enterprise, SPIC subsidiary State Power Investment Northeast Electric Power Company, for a district heating project at the Hongyanhe plant.

The project will provide heating to Hongyanhe Town, Wafangdian City and Dalian City. The pre-planned and designed heating area is 242,400 square metres, which will benefit the heating services of nearly 20,000 residents. According to the work arrangement, the project is planned to start off-site construction in June this year and start providing heat to Hongyanhe Town next winter.

"As the first nuclear energy heating project in Northeast China, once it is completed and put into operation, it will become a demonstration project of nuclear energy heating in Northeast China, and will make positive contributions to the ecological environment of Northeast China, especially Dalian and Wafangdian," CGN said.

CGN said the environmental protection benefits of the completed project will be "significant", with annual coal consumption reduced by 12,100 tonnes, smoke and dust emissions by more than 209 tonnes, sulfur dioxide by more than 60 tonnes, carbon dioxide by more than 14,000 tonnes, nitrogen oxides by more than 85 tonnes, and ash by more than 0.26 tonnes.

"In recent years, Liaoning Hongyanhe Nuclear Power has been actively researching and promoting nuclear energy heating work," CGN noted. "In the future, it will continue to strengthen cooperation with relevant parties. While doing a good job in the heating work in surrounding cities and towns, it will explore the feasibility of nuclear energy heating in more fields and a wider range."

Construction of Phase I (units 1-4) of the Hongyanhe plant, comprising four CPR-1000 pressurised water reactors, began in August 2009. Units 1 and 2 have been in commercial operation since June 2013 and May 2014, respectively, while unit 3 entered commercial operation in August 2015 and unit 4 in September 2016. Phase II - units 5 and 6 - comprises two ACPR-1000 reactors. Construction of unit 5 began in March 2015 and that of unit 6 started in July the same year. Unit 5 began commercial operation on 31 July last year, while unit 6 is scheduled to start operating during the first half of 2022.

The Chinese government has made clean-energy heating a priority. In 2017, the authorities issued guidance on clean heating in winter in northern China. The National Energy Administration released a five-year plan, covering 2017-2021, highlighting the innovation of clean heating technology and consideration of nuclear heating.

China's Haiyang nuclear power plant in Shandong province officially started providing district heat to the surrounding area in November 2020. A trial of the project - the country's first commercial nuclear heating project - was carried out the previous winter, providing heat to 700,000 square metres of housing, including the plant's dormitory and some local residents. This year the Haiyang Nuclear Energy Heating Project began providing heating to the entire Haiyang city.

The first phase of a district heating demonstration project at the Qinshan nuclear power plant in China's southern Zhejiang Province was commissioned in December 2021. The project is divided into three phases. The initial phase now provides nuclear energy generated central heating to 460,000 square metres of accommodation in three residential areas and 5000 square metres of apartments for nearly 4000 residents of Haiyan County. The overall project goal is to have a nuclear heating area of ​​4 million square metres by 2025, covering the main urban area of ​​Haiyan County and the entire area of ​​Shupu Town.

Russia, several East European countries, Switzerland and Sweden have all had nuclear-fuelled district heating schemes, and heat from nuclear power plants has also been sent to industrial sites in several countries.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News