China will complete five nuclear reactors in 2017 and double nuclear power generation to about 420 TWh by 2021

China will complete construction of five nuclear power reactors and start construction of eight more in 2017, according to plans released by the country’s National Energy Administration (NEA). Planning for a further eight reactors will also be progressed this year.

In its Energy Work Guidance Opinion for 2017, published on 10 February, the NEA said construction will be completed of the Sanmen 1 and Haiyang 1 AP1000 units, the Taishan 1 EPR and the Fuqing 4 and Yangjiang 4 CPR-1000 units. These, together with “other projects”, will add some 6.41 GWe of nuclear generating capacity, it said.

The Administration plans to start construction of eight units during this year, but it did not name them or state the type of reactors they will feature.

Preparatory work is also to be carried out this year on a further eight units. These include units 3 and 4 of Sanmen, Ningde units 5 and 6, and two units each at new plants at Zhangzhou in Fujian province and Huizhou in Guangdong province. Together with other projects, these will add 9.86 GWe of nuclear generating capacity.

The NEA also said China will promote the export of its nuclear power technology. It is to carry out follow-up cooperation work related to the planned construction of units at Karachi, Pakistan, as well as promote the implementation of the Hualong One reactor design in the UK.

China’s operating nuclear generating capacity will double over the next five years under the country’s recently-published 13th Five-Year Plan. Under that plan, over the next five years China aims to have all four Sanmen and Haiyang AP1000 units in operation by the end of this year. It also aims to develop Hualong One demonstration projects at Fuqing and Fangchenggang and begin construction on the CAP1400 demonstration project at Shidaowan. China will also start building a number of coastal nuclear power plants and carry out preliminary work for inland projects.

Mainland China has 36 nuclear power reactors in operation, 21 under construction, and more about to start construction.

Additional reactors are planned, including some of the world’s most advanced, to give a doubling of nuclear capacity to at least 58 GWe by 2020-21, then up to 150-250 GWe by 2030, and much more by 2050.

In 2016, China’s nuclear generation was 210.5 TWh, 25% up on 2015, according to CNEA.

Per capita electricity consumption was 3510 kWh in 2012. By 2030 it is expected to be 5500 kWh/yr and by 2050 about 8500 kWh/yr.

Electricity generation in 2015 increased only 0.3%, to 5.81 PWh. That from fossil fuels was 4242 TWh, from hydro 1126 TWh, nuclear 171 TWh and renewables 271 TWh.

The grid system run by the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) and China Southern Power Grid Co (CSG) is sophisticated and rapidly growing, utilising ultra high voltage (1000 kV AC and 800 kV DC) transmission. By 2015 SGCC invested CNY 500 billion ($75.5 billion) to extend the UHV grid to 40,000 km, and in 2015 it planned to spend CNY 420 billion, 24% up on 2014. It built 33,000 km of 220 kV+ AC transmission in 2015, along with UHV lines, and started building 13,000 km of DC lines. A new Yunnan-Guangdong line in the south links major hydro and nuclear sources, and a 2 GWe link in the north links Mongolian wind with Shandong. SGCC started pre-project work on transmission links with Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia and Pakistan in 2015. It is also building a major UHV DC project in Brazil and a 4000 MW HVDC line through Pakistan over 2017-18 as part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The 13th Five-Year Plan from 2016 includes spending $368 billion on smart grids, UHV grids and distribution. By 2020, the capacity of the UHV network is expected to be some 300 GW, which will function as the backbone of the whole system, connecting six regional clusters. This is unexpectedly increasing wholesale price competition among provinces. Over 2014 to 2020 high-voltage transmission lines are expected to increase from 1.15 million circuit km to 1.6 million circuit km, in line with a big increase in generation capacity (from 1371 to 2073 GWe according to one forecast), and operational transmission losses are expected to be 5.7%, down from 6.6% in 2015.