China is in the process of building 24 nuclear power plants with a total capacity of around 26.81 million kilowatts (kW), which constitues the greatest increase of power generation capacity in the world. This is according to an industry report by the China Nuclear Energy Association (CNEA).
Since 2022, China has approved ten new nuclear power plants, brought three new commercial units into operation and launched the construction of another six additional units. China now has 54 commercial nuclear power plants with a total capacity of 56.82 million kW.
In 2022, China’s nuclear power plants generated 417.78 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, an increase of 2.5% over the previous year, and accounted for about 4.7% of the country’s total electricity generation. China’s nuclear power production ranks second in the world, according to the report.
Compared to coal-fired power plants, China’s nuclear power production in 2022 reduced the burning of coal by almost 120 million tons and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by almost 310 million tons.
The safety of Chinese nuclear power is also at an advanced level globally, according to the report. “Last year, 37 units in China received the highest rating on the World Nuclear Power Operators Association’s comprehensive index, representing 50% of the full-score units in the world,” said Zhang Tingke, Secretary General of the CNEA.
The report also shows that China’s independent innovation capacity in the nuclear power sector has improved significantly. On March 22, construction began on the Sanmen No 4 unit in Guangdong province, which has been mainly designed and manufactured by domestic institutions. Chinese companies will build and operate the unit independently, with a localization rate of nearly 70%, the Global Times reports.