Elite government academy pushes to expand China's nuclear power

June 01, 2012

A Chinese government-sponsored academy has advised increasing the country's installed capacity of nuclear power generation to 60-70-GW by 2020, local media reported Thursday.

The elite Chinese Academy of Engineering suggests the government add 30-GW of newly installed capacity by 2020 on top of the 2015 total, which is expected to reach 40-GW, the Beijing-based China Securities News reported, quoting unnamed sources.

China had originally proposed a goal of bringing its nuclear power installed capacity to 80-GW by 2020, but has reduced estimates on the installed capacity to around 70-GW amid safety concerns triggered by the nuclear crisis in Japan, the newspaper quoted an unidentified official with the State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) as saying.

The Chinese government suspended approvals for new nuclear power projects after an earthquake and tsunami in Japan on March 11, 2011, severely damaged nuclear power facilities and kicked off a leakage scare.

The State Council will soon discuss plans on nuclear power safety and development, and the government might resume approval procedures if the plans are passed, SNPTC Chairman Wang Binghua said in early May.

Despite the halt to new project approvals, the anonymous official said construction is underway as planned on 28 nuclear power generation units in China with a combined installed capacity of 30.79-GW.