Official start to the Yangjiang nuclear plant

17 December 2008

A ceremony has marked the official start in constructing a six-reactor nuclear power plant in southern China.



Yangjiang ceremony 
Provincial dignitaries celebrated the
start of the largest nuclear power
project yet approved in China
The Yangjiang project is the largest so far to be approved by Chinese planners. It will eventually host six domestically engineered CPR-1000 pressurized water reactors, generating around 1080 MWe each.


China Guangdong Nuclear Power Company (CGNPC) is the leader of the project, and is to draw on its operating teams from the Daya Bay nuclear plant, where similar reactors operate, to assemble management for Yangjiang.


Construction on-site is well under way, but the official 'first concrete' ceremony was held yesterday, attended by numerous officials. Former Chinese premier Li Peng sent a congratulatory letter praising the 'rolling mechanism' CGNPC has set up that should effectively see the replication of country's first nuclear power plant at Daya Bay. Yangjiang is to be the first six-reactor replication effort.


The total investment in Yangjiang's six reactors is to be 69.5 billion reminbi ($10.1 billion), giving a construction cost of 10,700 reminbi per kWe ($1565 per kWe), according to Zhang Guobao, head of the National Energy Bureau. He added that this was was 'much lower' than the figure for desulfurized coal-fired power plants in the province.


Contracts for all the major equipment and electronics have already been signed, with local companies providing over 80% of the plant's systems.


Shu Guo Gang of China Nuclear Power Research Institute said the Yangjiang site was first selected for nuclear development in 1988, with substantive work starting in 2005 upon approval from the National Development and Reform Commission. He detailed that ground was broken on the first two reactors in February this year, while in March it was decided to site six generating units at Yangjiang. Final approval to begin actual construction work came in November. The site was once named as the potential home for two imported Westinghouse AP1000 reactors, but these were moved to Haiyang in Shandong province instead. Two AP1000s are also under construction at Sanmen in Zheijiang province.


Provincial leader Wang Yang said the power from the new plant, as well as that from the forthcoming EPR-based Taishan power plant, would go a long way to solving supply problems in Guangdong province. He said it would also provide enough environmental capacity to support the growing settlement of Yangjiang, which already counts 2.7 million of the province's 113 million inhabitants.