China looks to buy 8 more AP1000 nuclear reactors and is accelerating nuclear reactor approvals

Westinghouse is in talks to sell eight more AP1000 nuclear Reactors to China for about $24 billion.

China currently has 20 nuclear power reactors online, with another 28 under construction, as it seeks to reduce its reliance on costly and polluting fossil fuels to generate electricity. Sun Qin, chairman of major nuclear plant operator China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) recently told Reuters another 20 nuclear reactors may be built within the next six years.

Nuclear installed capacity currently stands at 15.69 GW. China had 15 nuclear power generating units in operation with a total installed capacity of 12.54 GW in October 2012. China turned on some reactors in 2013. China produced 110.7 Terawatt hours of electricity in 2013 from about 14 GWe of nuclear reactors.

In 2012, Worldwide 85 GWe of installed solar photovoltaic power produced about 110 Terawatt hours. Therefore, the 14 GWe of nuclear power in China matched the worldwide power generation of solar power in 2012.

CORRECTION on solar power generated:
Solar-electric power production was 104.5 TWh in *2012* – page 6). Installed capacity grew from 70 to 100 GW during the year: Thus the average installed capacity was 85 GW, giving a capacity factor of 14%. The best you can expect from flat plate photovoltaic is about 25%, due to night, sun elevation angle, and weather. Bad locations like Germany will do worse. Tracking concentrators and solar thermal with storage can reach higher levels, but non-moving panels don’t capture a high percentage because the Sun moves and they don’t.

Average capacity in 2013 was (99.7 + 136.7 GW)/2 = 118.2 GW.

Nuclear, Wind, Hydro and Solar are all better energy sources than fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) in terms of death per terawatt hour and the environment.

The eight new Westinghouse reactors will be built at four locations including Sanmen, in the coastal Zhejiang province, and Haiyang in northeastern Shandong province, where another four Westinghouse AP1000 reactors are under construction.

Business Week reports that China plans to speed up nuclear power plant approvals.

On Friday, China’s State Energy Commission met in Beijing to review energy forecasts and discuss safety considerations regarding nuclear power. According to a statement released on the commission’s website on Sunday, it now intends to expedite the approval process for new reactors in China.

In 2013, China approved the construction of just two new nuclear reactors, with a combined generating capacity of 2.1 gigawatts. This year, it intends to green-light another 8.6 GW of nuclear energy, according to an article in Monday’s state-run China Daily newspaper.

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