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September 11, 2009

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China nuke size set to rise to 134GW

CHINA may have built as much as 134 gigawatts of nuclear power capacity by 2030 - a 15-fold increase to the equivalent of nearly a third of the current global total, the World Nuclear Association said.

While no new start-up in China was scheduled until 2011/2012, a huge program was underway following central government approvals for the first time in many years, the association said yesterday.

"The government's previous target of 40 GW for nuclear generating capacity by 2020 has now been increased to upwards of 70 GW - 86 GW has been mentioned," it said in its 14th report on the nuclear industry.

By the end of 2009 China could have 20 reactors under construction on various sites, including Ling Ao, Qinshan, Sanmen, Haiyang, Yangjiang, Hongyanhe, Fuqing, Ningde, Fangjiashan and Taishan, it said.

As of August, there were 436 operating nuclear units around the world with total capacity of 372 GW, including 11 units in China with capacity of 8.6 GW.

There were 48 reactors under construction in the world for a combined capacity of 43 GW, including 14 in China for 14 GW.

"Within the global picture, there are some significant changes in the country breakdowns. The most obvious feature is the increasing prominence of China and India," it said.

Referring to China, the report added: "A remarkable feature is that work is commencing on third and fourth units at several sites, immediately after the initial two units, with sites anticipated eventually to take six or more reactors."

While the indigenous CPR-1000 reactor was the mainstay for the program, there were contracts for four of Toshiba-Westinghouse's AP-1000s and two of Areva's European Pressurised Reactors, it said.

On global development up to 2030, the report said there might be a revival of nuclear power as countries try to cut carbon emissions while securing energy supply. In a higher scenario, the global capacity might reach 818 GW.

In the reference scenario, the association predicted global capacity would grow 2.2 percent per year to 600 GW by 2030, which should keep the nuclear share in the electricity supply at close to the current 15 percent. But there might be a decline as a significant number of current plants are to retire after 2010, it said.

"Unless there is a further upturn in building within the next 10 years or so, it is likely the majority of reactors likely to be operating in 2030 are already in use today," it said.


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