China study paves the way for nuclear programme restart

China could be set to restart its inland nuclear power programme after a study this week confirmed the feasibility of 31 proposed sites. 

The study, undertaken by the Chinese Academy of Engineering and the China Nuclear Energy Association (CNEA) under the rubric of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), focused on operational safety. The findings have reportedly been submitted to the government and approval to restart the programme is expected.

Nuclear construction in China’s inland regions has been on hold since 2011’s Fukushima disaster in Japan, with only a few projects in coastal areas winning approval and nuclear power now making up just 2 per cent of the nation’s energy mix, according to China’s energy agency.

However, more than 10 Chinese provinces have reportedly applied to build nuclear power plants in the past three years.

An anonymous source at the NDRC’s Energy Research Institute told Beijing-based newspaper the China Times that construction of inland nuclear power plants will be crucial to achieving the nation’s goal of 58 GW of installed nuclear power capacity by 2020, as specified in the government’s 13th five-year plan.

China currently has 30 GW of nuclear power projects under construction.

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