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Plans for Northeast China's First Nuclear Plant Unveiled

Construction of northeast China's first nuclear power plant is expected to begin next year, a Chinese official said in Beijing Thursday.

Preparations have begun for construction of the first phase of the Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Plant, located at Donggang Town of Wafangdian City in Liaoning Province, Zhang Guobao, vice minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, told a news conference.

The first phase of the project will consist of two generating units each with an installed capacity of one million kilowatts. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2011 at an estimated cost of 23 billion yuan (US$2.875 billion).

China Power Investment Corporation, China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co. Ltd. and two local companies in Liaoning have jointly set up the Liaoning Nuclear Power Co.Ltd. which will be responsible for the construction and operation of the Hongyanhe Plant.

The construction of the plant is one of the measures central government has taken in the planned redevelopment of the northeast industrial region, said Li Wancai, vice governor of Liaoning.

Sitting on the eastern shore of Liaodong Bay on the Bohai Sea and covering a site of 380 hectares the Hongyanhe project is being designed, built and operated by China, state the Liaoning Provincial Development and Reform Commission.

According to a source, a desalination plant will also be part of the project so that seawater can be used in the power plant and by local people.

Insiders said the Hongyanhe project was expected to play a significant role in balancing power supply and consumption, reducing pollution and promoting the manufacture of nuclear power equipment in the northeast region.

China plans to increase its nuclear power installed capacity to 40 million kilowatts by 2020 which would account for four percent of the country's total installed capacity by that time, said Zhang.

To reach that goal China needed to build around 32 nuclear power units each with an installed capacity of one million kilowatts in the coming 15 years, Zhang added.

At the end of last year nuclear power contributed only 1.35 percent of China's total electricity of 508 million kilowatts.

Currently China has nine nuclear generators in commercial operation with a total capacity of approximately seven million kilowatts. One generator with a capacity of 1.06 million kilowatts is in trial operation and five others with a combined capacity of 4.52 million kilowatts are under construction.

China's power consumption has increased rapidly as a result of fast economic growth. The electricity consumption in the first quarter this year reached 624.98 billion kilowatts-hours which is a year on year rise of 11.81 percent.

The potential for growth in nuclear power is attracting interest from international firms such as US based Westinghouse, France's Areva and Russia's AtomStroy Export (ASE).

(Xinhua News Agency June 9, 2006)

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