Nuclear Power in China

(Updated January 2017)

  • 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 GWe by 2030, and much more by 2050.
  • The impetus for increasing nuclear power share in China is increasingly due to air pollution from coal-fired plants.
  • China’s policy is to have a closed nuclear fuel cycle.
  • China has become largely self-sufficient in reactor design and construction, as well as other aspects of the fuel cycle, but is making full use of western technology while adapting and improving it.
  • China’s policy is to ‘go global’ with exporting nuclear technology including heavy components in the supply chain.

Most of mainland China's electricity is produced from fossil fuels, predominantly from coal – 73% in 2015. Two large hydro projects are recent additions: Three Gorges of 18.2 GWe and Yellow River of 15.8 GWe. Wind capacity in 2015 was 8.6% of total, but delivering only 3.3% of the electricity.

Rapid growth in demand has given rise to power shortages, and the reliance on fossil fuels has led to much air pollution. The economic loss due to pollution is put by the World Bank at almost 6% of GDP,1 and the new leadership from March 2013 has prioritised this.* Chronic and widespread smog in the east of the country is attributed to coal burning.

* Official measurements of fine particles in the air measuring less than 2.5 micrometres, which pose the greatest health risk, rose to a record 993 micrograms per cubic metre in Beijing on 12 January 2013, compared with World Health Organization guidelines of no higher than 25.

The IEA notes that since 2012, China has been the country with the largest installed power capacity, and it has increased this by 14% since then to reach 1,245 GWe in 2014, or 21% of global capacity, slightly ahead of the United States (20%). The age structures of the power plants in these two countries differ remarkably: in China almost 70% (865 GWe) was built within the last decade, whereas in the United States half of the fleet (580 GWe) was over 30 years old.

In August 2013 the State Council said that China should reduce its carbon emissions by 40-45% by 2020 from 2005 levels, and would aim to boost renewable energy to 15% of its total primary energy consumption by 2020. In 2012 China was the world’s largest source of carbon emissions – 2626 MtC (9.64 Gt CO2), and its increment that year comprised about 70% of world total increase. In March 2014 the Premier said that the government was declaring “war on pollution” and would accelerate closing coal-fired power stations.

In November 2014 the Premier announced that China intended about 20% of its primary energy consumption to be from non-fossil fuels by 2030, at which time it intended its peak of CO2 emissions to occur. This 20% target is part of the 13th Five-Year Plan and was reiterated by the president at the Paris climate change conference in December 2015, along with reducing CO2 emissions by 60 to 65% from 2005 levels by 2030. This means that China’s energy growth has entered a ‘new normal’ phase including environmental protection, and to address this, vigorous development of nuclear power is required. By 2030 nuclear capacity will be 120 to 150 GWe, and nuclear will provide 8% to 10% of electricity.

In the 13th Five-Year Plan for power production announced by the NEA in November 2016, by 2020 coal capacity will be limited to 1100 GWe by cancelling and postponing about 150 GWe of projects. Gas in 2020 is projected at 110 GWe, hydro 340 GWe, wind 210 GWe, and solar 110 GWe of which distributed PV is to be 60 GWe. Nuclear 58 GWe was reiterated for 2020. Non-fossil 770 GWe will then produce 15% of electricity.

The February 2015 edition of the BP Energy Outlook 2035 projects that by 2035 China becomes the world’s largest energy importer, overtaking Europe, as import dependence rises from 15% to 23%. China’s energy production rises by 47% while consumption grows by 60%. China’s fossil fuel output continues to rise with increases in natural gas (+200%) and coal (+19%) more than offsetting declines in oil (-3%). China’s CO2 emissions increase by 37% and by 2035 will account for 30% of world total with per capita emissions surpassing the OECD by 2035.

The distribution of energy resources relative to demand poses some challenges, notably for north-south coal transport and east-west power transmission.

Electricity demand has been slowing from over 14% pa in 2010, corresponding with a 10% growth in GDP, according to the China Electricity Council. Three-quarters of this was in industry. In 2015 electricity demand growth was only 0.5%, corresponding with a 6.9% growth in GDP, showing a marked decoupling of the two metrics, though this is partly due to subdued economic conditions. In the 13th Five-Year Plan, power demand growth is expected to be 3.8-4.6% pa to 2020. Residential consumption is about 13% of the total (compared with about 20% in Europe and 34% in the USA).

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, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Nuclear was the fastest-growing electricity source in 2015 (29% growth), while generation from fossil fuels dropped 2.7%, due to weak economic conditions more than the ongoing energy transformation. The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency said that 2015 gross nuclear generation was 169 TWh, 3% of total, and net 158.3 TWh. Net export was 12 TWh in 2013, with that to Hong Kong being 9 TWh, adding to its 39 TWh generation (29 TWh from coal, 10 TWh from gas). 

Installed generating capacity has been increasing at nearly 10% per year since 2010 and reached 1508 GWe at the end of 2015. At the end of 2015 fossil fuelled capacity (mostly coal) reached 990 GWe, hydro capacity was 319 GWe (up 16 GWe in the year), nuclear capacity was 26 GWe, wind capacity reached 129 GWe and solar PV 43 GWe, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (all figures: grid-connected).

China is well advanced in developing and deploying supercritical and ultra-supercritical coal plants, as well as moving quickly to design and deploy technologies for integrated (coal) gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plants. Nevertheless it consumed about 4.3 billion tonnes of coal in 2013, more than half the world total, and coal peaked at more than 70% of China’s primary energy then, dropping to 64% in 2015 as fossil fuel generation declined. By 2020 it is expected to use some 3.5 billion tonnes of coal annually, and for coal to comprise only 55% of primary energy consumption. However, after authority for approving new coal-fired plants was given to provincial governments late in 2014, in 2015 state-owned companies received preliminary or full approval to build 165 GWe of new coal-fired capacity, some of which would be offset by retirement of older plants. But total coal consumption dropped by 3.7% in that year, and in October 2016 coal-fired plants had an average load factor of only 46%. In March 2016, the NEA ordered 13 provinces to suspend approvals of new projects until 2017, and another 15 to delay construction of new projects that had already been approved. Taken together, this required about 110 GWe of suspensions.

Wind and solar generating capacity has been expanding rapidly, much of it with private investment encouraged by government policies, such as CNY 0.54 per kWh feed-in tariff (FIT). In 2015, 32.5 GWe of wind capacity and 18.3 GWe of solar PV was installed, but utilization hours decreased. In 2016 the NEA expected 18 GWe of solar to be added, including some large solar thermal plants. In 2015 some 34 TWh of potential wind output – about 20% on average and up to 50% in some provinces – was curtailed because of inadequate grid connections, according to the National Energy Administration, and several provinces* have been ordered to stop approving wind projects until they improve transmission infrastructure. There is a similar situation for grid-connected solar, and capacity factor is about 17%. In 2016 NDRC reduced wind FITs by 5% to 13% and solar utility FITs by 24% to 31%. The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) forecast that in 2016 China would install an additional 22 GWe of wind, 16 GWe of new hydro, and 18 GWe of solar (60% utility scale, 40% distributed rooftop solar). The 13th Five-Year Plan has about 16 GWe/yr of wind addition, and aims to reduce grid curtailment from wind to 5%. However, having made huge investments, many wind and solar power producers have been affected by grid curtailment rates in the 30% range for the past few years.

* Inner Mongolia, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Gansu (39% curtailment in 2015), Ningxia and Xinjiang (32% curtailment in 2015). According to the China Renewable Energy Association Commission, between 2010 and 2015 the curtailed wind power totalled 100 TWh, equivalent to the Three Gorges Dam 2015 production.

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.

Among the main listed generators, Huaneng Power produced 203.5 billion kWh from its domestic plants in 2009, 10.2% up on 2008. Datang Power produced 141.9 billion kWh, 12% up on 2008. Huadian Power produced 107.5 billion kWh, 6.75% above 2008. CPI Development produced 43.9 billion kWh, 2.0% above 2008 level. The main nuclear operators are China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN).

Electricity generation is only one part of China's rapid development; roads, air transport and a high-speed rail system (powered by electricity) are others. A record 486 km/h rail speed between Beijing and Shanghai was achieved in 2010, and by September 2016, 20,000 km of 200+ km/h track was operational. Also the world's longest bridge – the 42 km Qingdao Haiwan bridge in Shandong province – opened in 2011.

Energy policy and clean air

While coal is the main energy source, most reserves are in the north or northwest and present an enormous logistical problem – nearly half the country's rail capacity is used in transporting coal. Because of the heavy reliance on old coal-fired plant, electricity generation accounts for much of the country's air pollution, which is a strong reason to increase nuclear share. China has overtaken the USA as the world's largest contributor of carbon dioxide emissions.* Gas consumption in 2013 was forecast to be 165 billion cubic metres, up 11.9% on 2012. China has shale gas resources, but much of it is in the northwest which is very arid, so water supply is a constraint. By 2035 the US Energy Information Administration expects China’s gas to come equally from conventional, coal bed and shale sources.

* The US Energy Information Administration predicts that China's share in global coal-related emissions will grow by 2.7% per year, from 4.9 billion tonnes in 2006 to 9.3 billion tonnes in 2030, some 52% of the projected world total. Total carbon dioxide emissions in China are projected to grow by 2.8% per year from 6.2 billion tonnes in 2006 to 11.7 billion tonnes in 2030 (or 28% of world total). In comparison, total US carbon dioxide emissions are projected to grow by 0.3% per year, from 5.9 billion tonnes in 2006 to 7.7 billion tonnes in 2030.3

Water is also a constraint on coal-fired power generation, much of which is in water-deficient regions. Retrofit to air cooling decreases efficiency by 3-10% and is reported to cost about $200 million per GWe in China.

China's energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product met a target reduction of 20% from 2005 levels by the end of 2010, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). There is a fairly good correlation between GDP growth and electricity consumption growth from 2000 to 2014, related to the fact that (in 2015) 60% of electricity is used by secondary heavy industry and another 12% by secondary light industry.

In March 2013 the NDRC announced new plans for seawater desalination.* China aims to produce 2.2 million m3/day of desal water by 2015, more than three times the 2011 level. More than half of the freshwater channelled to islands and more than 15% of water delivered to coastal factories will come from the sea by 2015, according to the plan.

* The list includes the cities of Shenzhen and Zhoushan, Luxixiang Island in Zhejiang Province, Binhai New Area in Tianjin, Bohai New Area in Hebei, and several industrial parks and companies. The NDRC has asked the listed regions and companies to actively promote the application of desalted water and encourage its use in daily supplies. The cost is likely to be some CNY 21 billion ($3.35 billion).

In September 2014 a national climate change plan prepared by NDRC was approved by the State Council. This set emission and clean energy targets for 2020. The carbon emission intensity target is 40-45% reduction from 2005 to 2020, with good progress of almost 29% by the end of 2013. It aims to increase the shares of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to about 15% by 2020 – at the end of 2013 it was 9.8%. The plan also sets the target for China to increase forest coverage by 40 million hectares within the next five years to 2019. The government said it would speed up efforts to establish a carbon emission permit market, as well as deepening international cooperation under the principles of "common but differentiated responsibilities," equity, and respective capability. UN emission reduction targets after 2020 are likely to be addressed in the 13th Five-Year Plan from 2016.

The State Council published the Energy Development Strategy Action Plan, 2014-2020 in November 2014. The plan aimed to cut China's reliance on coal and promote the use of clean energy, confirming the 2012 target of 58 GWe nuclear in 2020, with 30 GWe more under construction. The plan called for the "timely launch" of new nuclear power projects on the east coast and for feasibility studies for the construction of inland plants. It said that efforts should be focused on promoting the use of large pressurized water reactors (including the AP1000 and CAP1400 designs), high temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTRs) and fast reactors. It also said that research should be conducted to "improve the nuclear fuel cycle system” including reprocessing of used fuel.

In the 13th Five-Year Plan from 2016, six to eight nuclear reactors are to be approved each year. Non-fossil primary energy provision should reach 15% by 2020 and 20% by 2030 (from 9.8% in 2013). Coal’s share of primary energy was down to 64.4% in 2015, from 72.5% in 2007. The action plan aim was 62% in 2020. After 21.5 GWe of coal capacity was added in the first half of 2016, in September 2016 the NEA issued a notice halting all construction and approval for coal plants in 28 provinces until their overcapacity is reduced.

In June 2015 China submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to climate change mitigation and adaptation for 2020 to 2030 to the UN. This pledge included increasing the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to about 20% and restraining carbon emissions in 2030 to double of those in 2005 (after being 158% of the 2005 level in 2015 and 182% in 2020). Annual average new nuclear capacity 2005 to 2020 is 3.4 GWe/yr, from 2020 to 2030 it is 9.0 GWe/yr.

Nuclear power

Nuclear power has an important role, especially in the coastal areas remote from the coalfields and where the economy is developing rapidly. Generally, nuclear plants can be built close to centres of demand, whereas suitable wind and hydro sites are remote from demand. Moves to build nuclear power commenced in 1970 and about 2005 the industry moved into a rapid development phase, in the 11th five-year plan.

Technology has been drawn from France, Canada and Russia, with local development based largely on the French element. The latest technology acquisition has been from the USA (via Westinghouse, owned by Japan's Toshiba) and France. The State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) has made the Westinghouse AP1000 the main basis of technology development in the immediate future, particularly evident in the local development of CAP1400 based on it.

This has led to a determined policy of exporting nuclear technology, based on China’s development of the CAP1400 reactor with Chinese intellectual property rights and backed by full fuel cycle capability. In 2015 the Hualong One reactor became the main export product. The policy is being pursued at a high level politically, as one of 16 key national science & technology projects, utilising China's economic and diplomatic influence, and led by the initiative of CGN commercially, with SNPTC and more recently CNNC in support.

By around 2040, PWRs are expected to level off at 200 GWe and fast reactors progressively increase from 2020 to at least 200 GWe by 2050 and 1400 GWe by 2100.

Workers bringing Ling Ao Phase II unit 1 to first criticality in July 2010 (CGN)

Prior to 2008, the government had planned to increase nuclear generating capacity to 40 GWe by 2020 (out of a total 1000 GWe planned), with a further 18 GWe nuclear being under construction then. However, projections for nuclear power then increased to 70-80 GWe by 2020, 200 GWe by 2030 and 400-500 GWe by 2050. In April 2015 CNEA said that by 2030 per capita annual electricity consumption would be 5500 kWh, and installed nuclear capacity would be 160 GWe, providing 10% of electricity (with coal 64.6%). By 2050, per capita consumption would be 8500 kWh, and installed nuclear capacity 240 GWe providing 15% of electricity (coal 50.5%). However, other sources suggest that the post-Fukushima slowdown may mean that the 2030 figure is only about 120 GWe. (240 GWe at 90% capacity factor would produce 1900 TWh/yr).

National policy has moved from ‘moderate development’ of nuclear power to ‘positive development’ in 2004, and in 2011-12 to ‘steady development with safety’. See further comment under Post-Fukushima Review below. The nuclear capacity target for 2020 became 58 GWe in operation and 30 GWe under construction, though it appears that these figures will not be achieved until 2021.

In December 2011 the National Energy Administration (NEA) said that China would make nuclear energy the foundation of its power-generation system in the next "10 to 20 years", adding as much as 300 GWe of nuclear capacity over that period. Two weeks earlier the NDRC vice-director said that China would not swerve from its goal of greater reliance on nuclear power. In September 2013 SNPTC estimated that 4-6 new units per year would be needed to 2015 then 6-8 units during the 13th Five-Year Plan Period (2016-2020)*, increasing to 10 units each year after 2020. The NEA confirmed that China could manufacture eight full sets of reactor equipment per year, and in 2014 it announced that China was aiming for world leadership in nuclear technology.

* The 13th Five-Year Plan formalized in March 2016 included the following nuclear projects and aims:

  • Complete four AP1000 units at Sanmen and Haiyang.
  • Build demonstration Hualong One reactors at Fuqing and Fangchenggang.
  • Start building the demonstration CAP1400 reactor at Rongcheng (Shidaowan).
  • Accelerate building Tianwan Phase III (units 5&6).
  • Start building a new coastal power plant.
  • Active preparatory work for inland nuclear power plants.
  • Reach target of 58 GWe nuclear operational by end of 2020, plus 30 GWe under construction then.
  • Accelerate and push for building demonstration and large commercial reprocessing plants.
  • Strengthen the fuel security system.

In July 2013 the NDRC set a wholesale power price of CNY 0.43 per kWh (7 US cents/kWh) for all new nuclear power projects, to promote the healthy development of nuclear power and guide investment into the sector. The price is to be kept relatively stable but will be adjusted with technology advances and market factors, though many consider it not high enough to be profitable. It is reported that the price for power from Sanmen may in fact be about 5% higher. Nuclear power is already competitive, and wholesale price to grid has been less than power form coal plants with flue gas desulfurization, though the basic coal-fired cost is put at CNY 0.3/kWh*. In March 2015 a new round of electricity market reform was launched, to prioritise clean power generation, and this allowed nuclear power companies to negotiate prices with customers. This is expected to help get inland projects moving ahead.

* Wind cost to grid is CNY 0.49 - 0.61 per kWh, depending on region (and FIT, now CNY 0.54 per kWh), solar is CNY 0.9 (desert) to 1.3 (east). CGN Power reported that in 2015 Hongyanhe grid tariff was CNY 0.4142/kWh, and Ningde CNY 0.43/kWh.

Hong Kong supply

Hong Kong gets much of its power from mainland China, in particular about 70% of the output from Daya Bay's 1888 MWe net nuclear capacity is sent there. A 2014 agreement increases this to 80%. The Hong Kong government plans to close down its coal-fired plants, and by 2020 to get 50% of its power from mainland nuclear (now 23%), 40% from gas locally (now 22%) and 3% from renewables. Another option, with less import dependence, is to increase domestic generation from gas to 60%, and maintain mainland nuclear at 20%.

Hong Kong utility China Light & Power (CLP) has equity in CGN's Daya Bay (25%) power plant, and was until 2013 negotiating a possible 17% share in Yangjiang. After considering equity in a further CGN nuclear plant, in October 2016 CLP Holdings Ltd successfully bid for a 17% share in Yangjiang Nuclear Power Co Ltd, in response to a CGN general invitation to tender.

Since 1994 Hong Kong has been getting up to one-third of its power from Daya Bay output, and this contract now runs to 2034. According to CLP data, nuclear power cost HK 47 c/kWh in November 2013, compared with 27 cents for coal and 68 cents for gas, which provides the main opportunity to increase supply. CLP supplies about 80% of Hong Kong’s power.

Regulation and safety

The National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) was set up in 1984 under the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) and is the licensing and regulatory body which also maintains international agreements regarding safety and non-proliferation safeguards. While it already reported to the State Council directly, in January 2011 the State Council Research Office (SCRO) recommended: "The NNSA should be an entity directly under the State Council Bureau, making it an independent regulatory body with authority," although its international roles would continue to be through the CAEA. It is administered by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), and the head of NNSA has the rank of Vice Minister of MEP. (The CAEA plans new capacity and approves feasibility studies for new plants – see also SCRO report below.) In relation to the AP1000, the NNSA works closely with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) is directly under the State Council and is responsible for radiological monitoring and radioactive waste management and for administration of the NNSA.

A utility proposing a new plant submits feasibility studies to the CAEA, siting proposals to the NNSA and environmental studies to MEP itself. Nuclear power plant licences issued by the NNSA progress from siting approval, then construction permit (12 months before first concrete), fuel loading permit, to operating licence.

The NNSA is responsible for licensing all nuclear reactors and other facilities, safety inspections and reviews of them, operational regulations, licensing transport of nuclear materials, waste management, and radiation protection including sources and NORM. It licenses staff of nuclear manufacturers through to reactor operators. The NNSA certifies companies for design, manufacture, installation and non-destructive inspection of civilian nuclear safety equipment, and imported equipment. It is responsible for radiological protection and for environmental impact assessment of nuclear projects, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP). The 2003 Law on Prevention and Control of Radioactive Pollution is supplemented by a number of regulations issued since 1986 with the authority of State Council.

The NNSA is responsible for safeguards materials accounting throughout the fuel cycle, and communicates with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in this regard.

In 2013 the CAEA signed a cooperation agreement with the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), confirming China as a ‘key partner’ with the OECD. In May 2014 the NNSA signed an agreement on the regulation of nuclear power and radiation safety with the OECD NEA. This is to share experience on the effective regulation and oversight of nuclear safety, as well as best practice in licensing and oversight of civil nuclear facilities.

China has shown unprecedented eagerness to achieve the world's best standards in nuclear safety (as also in civil aviation). It requested and hosted 12 Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) missions from IAEA teams to October 2011, and each plant generally has one external safety review each year, either OSART, WANO peer review, or CNEA peer review (with the Research Institute for Nuclear Power Operations, RINPO). In December 2013 the NNSA with its Japanese and South Korean counterparts agreed to form a network to cooperate on nuclear safety and quickly exchange information in nuclear emergencies. The NNSA is also part of the ASEAN+3 Forum on Nuclear Safety.

Following the Fukushima accident in Japan in March 2011, the government suspended its approval process pending a review of lessons which might be learned from it, particularly regarding siting of reactors with plant layout, and control of radiation release. Safety checks of operating plants were undertaken immediately, and review of those under construction was completed in October 2011. Resumption of approvals for further new plants was suspended until a new nuclear safety plan was accepted and State Council approval given in October 2012 (see also Post-Fukushima review below).

Following the Fukushima accident, concern regarding possible river pollution and depletion during droughts (due to evaporative cooling towers) meant delays until at lest 2015 to the inland AP1000 plants which were due to start construction in 2011.

SCRO report on nuclear investment and safety

In January 2011 a report from the State Council Research Office (SCRO), which makes independent policy recommendations to the State Council on strategic matters, was published. While approving the enormous progress made on many fronts, it cautioned concerning provincial and corporate enthusiasm for new nuclear power plants and said that the 2020 target should be restricted to 70 GWe of new plant actually operating so as to avoid placing undue demand on quality control issues in the supply chain. Another 30 GWe could be under construction. It emphasised that the priority needed to be resolutely on Generation-III technology, notably the AP1000 and derivatives. 4

SCRO said that China should limit the number of Generation II reactors built, notably CPR-1000. It noted the 100-fold increase in probabilistic safety brought by Generation III, and that future reactor generations would continue the trend.

SCRO drew attention to another factor potentially affecting safety – the nuclear power workforce. While staff can be technically trained in four to eight years, "safety culture takes longer" at the operational level. This issue is magnified in the regulatory regime, where salaries are lower than in industry, and workforce numbers remain relatively low. SCRO said that most countries employ 30-40 regulatory staff per reactor in their fleet, but the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) had only 1000 staff – a figure that must more than quadruple by 2020. The SCRO recommended: "The NNSA should be an entity directly under the State Council Bureau, making it an independent regulatory body with authority."

Post-Fukushima review

Immediately following the Fukushima accident in March 2011, the State Council announced on March 16 that it would suspend approvals for new nuclear power stations and conduct comprehensive safety checks of all nuclear projects, including those under construction (with an immediate halt required on any not satisfactory). It also suspended work on four approved units due to start construction in 2011*. About 34 reactors were already approved by the central government of which 26 were being built. The Shidaowan HTR, though ready for first concrete, was also delayed. After three months the inspections of operating plants had been completed, and those on plants under construction were completed by October (though construction had continued).

* Fuqing 4, 5 & 6, Yangjiang 4. Fuqing 4 and Yangjiang 4 started construction late in 2012

In 2012 a new safety plan for nuclear power was approved by State Council, and full incorporation of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safety standards became explicit.  In an unprecedented move to improve the transparency of nuclear regulation the government then formally solicited public comments on its nuclear safety plan which must ensure that no ‘serious incident’ (INES Level 3) or greater occurs at any reactor. (So far in China no nuclear incident has been over INES level 2.) The plan involved significant expenditure across all of the country’s facilities. In October 2012 approvals for new plants recommenced. The nuclear capacity target for 2020 became 58 GWe in operation and 30 GWe under construction. 

The State Council in 2012 approved the "12th 5-year Plan for Nuclear Safety and Radioactive Pollution Prevention and Vision for 2020", compiled by the Ministry of Environment. It suggested that China would need to spend RMB 80 billion ($13 billion) on improving nuclear safety at 41 operating and under construction reactors by 2015. "China has multiple types of nuclear reactors, multiple technologies and multiple standards of safety, which makes them hard to manage," it said, adding that the operation and construction of nuclear reactors must improve. The bottom line of safety requirements is that radioactive releases should never cause “unacceptable effects on the environment or the public”, and that advanced nuclear technology should “practically eliminate the possibility of release of significant quantities of radioactive substances from nuclear power units” built from 2016.

A series of research and development (R&D) projects was launched by the NEA in February 2012 to improve safety-related technology and the country’s emergency response capabilities at indigenous nuclear power plants in the event of an extreme disaster beyond design basis. The 13 R&D projects were conducted by CNNC, CGN and the Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology (INET) at Tsinghua University. They include the development of passive emergency power supply and cooling water systems, development of passive containment heat removal systems, developing hydrogen control devices, measures for the prevention and mitigation of used fuel accidents, and analysing the impact of multiple simultaneous external events and response measures. The outcome of this by 2014 was to bring the safety of CPR-1000 reactors up to “internationally recognized levels” required for Generation III reactors.

In 2014, the five major nuclear power utilities including CNNC and CGN signed the Cooperation Framework Agreement on Mutual Aid for Nuclear Accident Emergency Among Groups, undertaking to establish and improve the emergency response mechanism and cooperation between adjoining nuclear power plants belonging to different groups, in case of a serious nuclear accident.

International review of NNSA and MEP

In July 2010 a 22-strong IAEA team from 15 countries carried out a two-week Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS) mission to review of China's regulatory framework for nuclear safety. The IAEA made a number of recommendations but said that the review had provided "confidence in the effectiveness of the Chinese safety regulatory system and the future safety of the vast expanding nuclear industry."

In 2016 a further IRRS mission was invited and a 14-strong team from the IAEA reviewed the China situation with many more reactors online and under construction. An interim report said that most of the recommendations made during the 2010 mission had been implemented but that "further work is needed in areas such as managing long-term operation of nuclear power plants and waste management." Also: "The team recommended that China should continue its progress towards adopting the draft Nuclear Safety Act, which sets out fundamental safety principles [and which] should ensure the independence of MEP/NNSA as a regulatory body.”


Sites of Nuclear Power Plants in China

Sites of Nuclear Power Plants in China

Reactor technology

China has set the following points as key elements of its nuclear energy policy:

  • PWRs will be the mainstream but not sole reactor type.
  • Nuclear fuel assemblies are fabricated and supplied indigenously.
  • Domestic manufacturing of plant and equipment will be maximised, with self-reliance in design and project management.
  • International cooperation is nevertheless encouraged.

The technology base for future reactors remains officially undefined, though two designs are currently predominant in construction plans: CPR-1000 and AP1000, though plans for the former have been scaled back post-Fukushima. Beyond them, high-temperature gas-cooled reactors and fast reactors appear to be the main priorities.

A major struggle between the established China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) pushing for indigenous technology and the small but well-connected State Nuclear Power Technology Corp (SNPTC) favouring imported technology was won by SNPTC about 2004. In particular, SNPTC proposed use of indigenized 1000+ MWe plants with advanced third-generation technology, arising from Westinghouse AP1000 designs at Sanmen and Haiyang (see section below on Embarking upon Generation III plants). Westinghouse has agreed to transfer technology to SNPTC over the first four AP1000 units so that SNPTC can build the following ones on its own. In 2014 SNPTC signed a further agreement with Westinghouse to deepen cooperation in relation to AP1000 and CAP1400 technology globally and “establish a mutually beneficial and complementary partnership”.

In February 2006, the State Council announced that the large advanced PWR was one of two high priority projects for the next 15 years, depending on "Sino-foreign cooperation, in order to master international advanced technology on nuclear power and develop a Chinese third-generation large PWR".5 In September 2006, the head of the China Atomic Energy Authority said that he expected large numbers of third-generation PWR reactors derived from foreign technology to be built from about 2016, after experience is gained with the initial AP1000 units.

This trend was given impetus by the reappraisal of safety following the Fukushima accident.


Two Areva EPR reactors are being built at Taishan, and two more are planned. (see section below on Embarking upon Generation III plants.) Areva says the reactors are 4590 MWt, with net power 1660 MWe.

In October 2008, Areva and CGN (then: CGNPC) announced establishment of an engineering joint venture as a technology transfer vehicle for development of the EPR and possibly other PWR plants in China and later abroad. The Wecan JV, 55% CGN subsidiary China Nuclear Power Engineering Co. and 45% Areva, was set up in December 2009 and based in Shenzhen, though by mid-2011 the CGN share was held by China Nuclear Power Technology Research Institute (CNPRI), another subsidiary. Overseas projects involving CGN appear now to hold the only potential for expanding the role of Areva’s EPR technology involving China.

AP1000, CAP1000

The Westinghouse AP1000 was to be the main basis of China's move to Generation III technology, and involved a major technology transfer agreement. It is a 1250 MWe gross reactor with two coolant loops. The first four AP1000 reactors are being built at Sanmen and Haiyang, for CNNC and China Power Investment Corp (CPI) respectively. Six more at three sites are firmly planned after them, at Sanmen, Haiyang and Lufeng (for CGN), and at least 30 more were proposed to follow. A State Council Research Office report in January 2011 emphasised that these should have priority over alternative designs such as CPR-1000, and this position strengthened following the Fukushima accident.

The reactors are built from modules fabricated adjacent to each site. The timeline is 50 months from first concrete to fuel loading, then six months to grid connection for the first four units, with this expected to reduce significantly for the following units. In October 2009, SNPTC and CNNC signed an agreement to co-develop and refine the AP1000 design, and this position strengthened following the Fukushima accident. (See also section below on Embarking upon Generation III plants).

CNEA estimated in May 2013 that the construction cost for two AP1000 units at Sanmen would be CNY 40.1 billion ($6.12 billion), or 16,000 yuan/kW installed ($2440/kW), instead of CNY 32.4 billion earlier estimated. This is about 19% higher than the latest estimate for the CPR-1000 (CNY 13,400/kW, $2045/kW), but likely to drop to about that level with series construction and greater localisation as envisaged. Grid purchase price is expected to exceed CNY 0.45/kWh at present costs, and drop to the standard CNY 0.43/kWh with series build and reduced capital cost.

SNPTC also refers to a CAP1000, which is a local standardization of the design, transitional to CAP1400. It is said to have reduced cost and improved operation and maintenance attributes. The base design, commenced in 2008, is complete, the detailed design, started in April 2010, was due by June 2013. Early in 2012 SNPTC had organized SNERDI (nuclear island and general designer) and SNPDRI (for conventional island) to localize the design for both inland and coastal sites, for Xianning, Pengze and Taohuajiang. CAP1000 localisation is 80%.

Alstom has an agreement with Dongfang Electric Corporation for turbine and generator packages for future AP1000 projects to be based on Alstom’s Arabelle technology. Alstom and DEC have supplied more than half of the turbine generator sets for Chines nuclear power plants to 2013.


Westinghouse announced in 2008 that it was working with SNPTC and Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research & Design Institute (SNERDI) to develop jointly a passively safe 1400-1500 MWe design from the AP1000/CAP1000, for large-scale deployment. SNPTC initially called it the Large Advanced Passive PWR Nuclear Power Plant (LPP or APWR). It is one of 16 Key National Projects in China. This development with SNERDI opens the possibility of China itself exporting the new larger units with Westinghouse's cooperation. In April 2016 the IAEA presented SNERDI with its positive evaluation report from the generic reactor safety review process undertaken over nine months.

In December 2009, the State Nuclear Plant Demonstration Company – a 55-45% joint venture company by SNPTC and China Huaneng Group – was set up to build and operate an initial demonstration unit of the larger two-loop design, the CAP1400, at Huaneng's Shidaowan site at Rongcheng. The new company signed a set of agreements with SNERDI and the State Nuclear Power Engineering Company (SNPEC) in November 2010 to proceed with the project. Basic design of the 4040 MWt (ca.1500 MWe gross) reactor was completed in 2012, major components are ordered and being manufactured. It will have 193 fuel assemblies, MOX capability, 50 GWd/t burn-up and improved steam generators. Seismic rating is 300 gal. Dongfang Electric is to design and build the turbine generator under contract to SNPTC.

The basic design was approved by the National Energy Administration (NEA) in January 2014. Site works were complete in April 2014, with final NNSA approvals in September, following a 17-month review. In December 2014 SNPTC said it was ready to pour first concrete but awaited State Council permission, then in April 2015 construction of the turbine hall started. In November 2015 SNPTC said that construction would start on 31 March 2016, the delay being to ensure that the primary coolant pump issues on AP1000 were sorted and to avoid winter conditions for the major concrete pour. It is expected to take 56 months to build, with later units coming down to 50 months. Westinghouse is providing technical consulting services to SNPTC for the design. About 85% of the components will be indigenous, and contracts for 21 of 29 long lead time components had been signed by February 2015. Construction cost is expected to be CNY 15,751/kWe ($2454/kWe) and power cost CNY 0.403/kWh for the first unit and dropping to CNY 0.38/kWh (USD 5.9 cents) subsequently. A 2014 government figure is CNY 42.3 billion ($6.5 billion) for the first two units.

CNNC and SNPTC have talked of export potential, and SNPTC said that “exploration of the global market” for the CAP1400 would start in 2013, particularly in South America and Asia. In mid-2013 SNPTC quoted approx. $3000/kW capital cost and 7 c/kWh. In May 2016 SNERDI said that the successful IAEA generic reactor safety review would help, “laying a solid foundation for the CAP1400 to participate in international competition at a higher level."

CAP1400 may be followed by a larger, three-loop CAP1700 design if the passive cooling system can be scaled to that level. Agreements with Westinghouse stipulate that SNPTC will own the intellectual property rights for any derivatives over 1350 MWe. SNPEC is doing the engineering under a team from SNERDI, the Shandong Electric Power Engineering Consulting Institute (SEPECI), and the State Nuclear Power Equipment Manufacturing Company (SNPEMC), which will make the components.

CNP-1000, also CNP-600, CNP-300 (ACP 300, ACP600, ACP1000)

CNNC had been working with Westinghouse and Framatome (now Areva) at SNERDI since the early 1990s to develop a Chinese standard three-loop PWR design, the CNP-1000. This is developed from the two-loop Qinshan CNP-300 unit (scaled up to the two-loop CNP-600 units, also at Qinshan), with high (60 GWd/t) burn-up, 18-month refueling cycle and 20 more (but shorter) fuel assemblies than the French-origin M310 units at Daya Bay and Ling Ao.b In 1997, the Nuclear Power Institute of China (NPIC) at Chengdu became involved in the reactor design and, early in 2007, SNERDI was reassigned to concentrate on the AP1000 programme.

CNNC was keen to create its own brand of advanced second-generation reactor with full intellectual property rights, and wanted to build two initial CNP-1000 plants at Fangjiashan, adjacent to Qinshan near Shanghai, under the 11th Economic Plan, though the design probably would not have been ready. In early 2007, the CNP-1000 development was put on hold, though this aborted export plans then for two CNP-1000 units to Pakistan.

Further CNP-600 units are being built at Qinshan and Changjiang, Hainan. CNNC says they are free of French intellectual property rights. CNNC is also developing the design to the ACP600 which it calls a third-generation design and expected to be built on Hainan or in the northwest Gansu province and exported.c It will have double containment, 18-24 month refueling cycle, 121 fuel assemblies (as CNP-600), digital I&C, and 60-year plant life, but slightly less power – 605 MWe instead of 650 MWe gross.

In October 2011 CNNC announced that its independently-developed ACP1000 was entering the engineering design stage, initially for Fuqing units 5&6, with 1100 MWe nominal power and load-following capability. It has 177 fuel assemblies 3.66 m long. In May 2013 CNNC finished a preliminary safety analysis report, and was working on construction design in order to be ready for construction by the end of the year. CNNC expected to start building the first in 2014, at Fuqing, with 85% local content, and the second there in 2015. In April 2013 it announced an export agreement for an ACP1000, for Pakistan. CNNC asserts full intellectual property rights for the CNP series of reactors, which have evolved to the ACP series. However, when the National Energy Administration ordered a rationalization of CNNC’s and CGN’s 1000 MWe class designs, the ACP1000 morphed into the Hualong One (see description below) – though CNNC still describes its version of this as ACP1000. Meanwhile the IAEA approved the ACP1000 design in its Generic Reactor Safety Review process in December 2014, though the IAEA points out that this does not “constitute any kind of design certification”.

Two new 300 MWe CNP-300 PWR units are being built at Chasma in Pakistan by the China Zhongyuan Engineering Corporation. They are similar to those already commissioned in 2000 and 2011, and similar to Qinshan 1 – China's first indigenously-designed (by SNERDI) nuclear power plant.

CNNC was seeking to sell the CNP-300 to Belarus and in Africa, and these will probably now become ACP300.

ACP100 small modular PWR

A ‘key project’ in the 12th Five-Year Plan was CNNC’s multi-purpose small modular reactor, the ACP100. Preliminary design was completed in 2014, based on the larger ACP (and CNP) units and a preliminary safety analysis report (PSAR) has been completed. It has passive safety features and will normally be installed underground. Seismic tolerance is 300 Gal. It has 57 fuel assemblies 2.15m tall and integral steam generators (287ºC), so that the whole steam supply system is produced and shipped as a single reactor module. It has passive cooling for decay heat removal.

Its 310 MWt produces about 100 MWe, and power plants comprising two to six of these are envisaged, with 60-year design life and 24-month refueling. Or each module can supply 1000 GJ/hr, giving 12,000 m3/day desalination (with MED). Industrial and district heat uses are also envisaged, as is floating nuclear power plant (FNPP) application. Capacity up to 150 MWe is envisaged. The basic design was completed early in 2016, and CNNC said that the NDRC approved the ACP100S design late in 2016. In April 2016 the IAEA presented CNNC with its report from the generic reactor safety review process undertaken over ten months. See further in Floating nuclear power plants section below.

CNNC New Energy Corporation (CNNC-CNEC), a joint venture of CNNC (51%) and China Guodian Corp, is planning to build two ACP100 units in Putian county, Zhangzhou city, at the south of Fujian province, near Xiamen and not far from Fuqing, as a demonstration plant. This will be the CNY 5 billion ($788 million) phase 1 of a larger project. Construction time is expected to be 36-40 months, starting 2015 for the two Putian units. CNNC has applied for NDRC approval. A second proposal was approved for two further CNNC-CNEC units at Zhangzhou-Gulei, but this is suspended by local government opposition.

The project involves a joint venture of three companies for the pilot plant: CNNC as owner and operator, NPIC as the reactor designer, and China Nuclear Engineering Group being responsible for plant construction. CNNC-CNEC signed a second ACP100 agreement with Hengfeng county, Shangrao city in Jiangxi province, and a third with Ningdu county, Ganzhou city in Jiangxi province in July 2013 for another ACP100 project costing CNY 16 billion. Further inland units are planned in Hunan and Jilin provinces, and CNNC has signed ACP100 development agreements also with Zhejiang and Heilongjiang provinces. Export potential is considered high, with full intellectual property rights. CNNC-CNEC will construct major parts of the reactors in Bashan, Jilin province.

CAP200, 150, 50 small modular PWRs

These are integral PWRs, with SNPTC provenance, being developed from the CAP1000 in parallel with CAP1400 by SNERDI, using proven fuel and core design. The CAP150 is 450 MWt/150 MWe and has eight integral steam generators (295°C), and is claimed to have “a more simplified system and more safety than current third generation reactors.” It is pitched for remote electricity supply and district heating, with three-year refuelling and design life of 80 years. It has both active and passive cooling and in an accident scenario, no operator intervention required for seven days. Seismic design basis is 300 Gal. In mid-2013 SNPTC quoted approximately $5000/kW capital cost and 9 c/kWh, so significantly more than the CAP1400.

A related SNERDI project is a reactor for floating nuclear power plant (FNPP). This is to be 200 MWt and relatively low-temperature (250°C), so only about 40 MWe with two external steam generators and five-year refuelling.

In May 2016 SNPTC was reported to be focused on two SMR designs derived from CAP1000: CAP200 and CAP50, the latter for FNPP and desalination.

CPR-1000, M310+, ACPR1000

The CPR-1000 is a significantly upgraded version of the 900 MWe-class French M310 three-loop technology imported for the Daya Bay nuclear power plant in the 1980s and also built at Ling Ao. Known as the 'improved Chinese PWR' and designated Generation II+, it features digital instrumentation and control and a design life of 60 years. Its 157 fuel assemblies (4.3 m – 14 feet – long) have calculated core melt frequency of 1x10-5 and a release probability an order of magnitude lower than this.

Standard construction time is 52 months, and the claimed unit cost was under CNY 10,000 (US$ 1600) per kilowatt, though 2013 estimates put it at about $2300/kW domestically. With a capacity of 1080-1089 MWe gross (usually about 1020 MWe net), Ling Ao Phase II is the first plant to be designated as the CPR-1000 design. It cost CNY 28.5 billion, hence CNY 14,150/kW. (The Hongyanhe units, in colder water, are 1119 MWe gross, 1061 MWe net.) The CPR-1000 was being widely and quickly deployed for domestic use, with 57 likely to be built, as of end of 2010. Following the Fukushima accident, numbers will be only 20, and there will be no further approvals. Six were operating by late October 2015, with six under construction (plus four ACPR1000). Tianwan 5&6 will be the last ACPR1000 units built.

China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) led the development of the CPR-1000 and established a nearly complete domestic supply chain. However, Areva retains intellectual property rights, which constrains overseas sales since the Chinese would need agreement from Areva on a case-by-case basis. The six CNNC-built units (Fuqing and Fangjiashan) are often designated M310+.

The Advanced CPRACPR1000 – with full Chinese intellectual property rights, was launched by CGNPC in November 2011 with some fanfare regarding its safety attributes, which comply with international requirements. CGN has been in cooperation with Dongfang Electric, Shanghai Electric, Harbin Electric, China First Heavy Industries, China Erzhong and other companies since 2009 to develop the ACPR1000, a three-loop unit with double containment and core-catcher. Yangjiang 3&4 are an intermediate CPR-1000+, with some design modifications.

CGN made the ACPR1000 available for local build on schedule from 2013 with the first at Yangjiang, units 5&6, to be followed by Hongyanhe 5&6 and Lufeng 1&2 (now to be AP1000). In September 2012 Fangchenggang 3&4 was identified as the demonstration project, with construction start at the end of 2014, but meanwhile construction started on Yangjiang 5&6, which CGN said had evolved to be an ACPR1000 design. The ACPR1000 is also being built as units 5&6 at Tianwan, and these are said to be the last of the M-310 based series. Fangchenggang 3 was to be the reference plant for CGN’s bid to build the Sinop plant in Turkey. Overnight construction cost is expected to be $2500/kW.

A further development, ACPR1000+, was envisaged for export, from 2014, but was abandoned with the rationalisation to Hualong One described below, CGN's version of which is the HPR1000. It was to have a 60-year life and 300 Gal seismic capability. The conceptual design gained IAEA approval through its generic reactor safety review process in May 2013, though the IAEA points out that this does not “constitute any kind of design certification”.

In January 2012, CGN with Areva and EdF agreed on a partnership to develop a Generation III reactor based on the CPR-1000, the ACE1000 (Areva-CGN-EdF1000). Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, already designing the similar-size Atmea1 with Areva, said it will not be involved. The ACE1000 concept is reported to be evolutionary, with single but reinforced containment, active safety systems with three 100% loops (so can do maintenance on one of them outside outages). No more has been heard of this plan and it has evidently been overtaken by Hualong One.

ACPR small modular PWRs

Not to be outdone by CNNC in the small modular field, CGN has two small ACPR designs: an ACPR100 and an ACPR50S, both with passive cooling for decay heat and 60-year design life. Both have standard type fuel assemblies and fuel enriched to <5% with burnable poison giving 30 month refueling. The ACPR100 is an integral PWR, 450 MWt, 140 MWe, having 69 fuel assemblies. Reactor pressure vessel is 17m high and 4.4 m inside diameter, operating at 310°C. It is designed as a module in larger plant and would be installed underground.

The offshore ACPR50S is 200 MWt, 60 MWe with 37 fuel assemblies and two loops feeding four external steam generators. Reactor pressure vessel is 7.4m high and 2.5 m inside diameter, operating at 310°C. It is designed for mounting on a barge as floating nuclear power plant (FNPP) or possible submersible. The applications for these are similar to those for the ACP100. CGN announced in January 2016 that development of its reactor design has been approved by the NDRC as part of the 13th Five-Year Plan for innovative energy technologies. In November 2016 it announced construction start for the demonstration unit. See further in Floating nuclear power plants section below.

Hualong One – HPR1000

Since 2011 several rounds of negotiations between CNNC and CGN have grappled with the task of "merging" the ACP1000 and ACPR1000+ designs as ordered by the National Energy Administration (NEA) while allowing for some differences, with impetus given by the regulator. Both are three-loop designs based to some extent on the French M310, but the cores are very different: one (ACP1000) is a new design with 177 fuel assemblies 3.66 m (12 feet) long, the ACPR1000, based on multiple units built, has 157 assemblies 4.3 m (14 feet) long, so physically merging the basic designs was impractical, and in the event the ACP1000 design prevailed in the rationalisation, though it was less mature. Some features of the ACPR1000 are incorporated, at least in the CGN version, which it calls HPR1000.

The Hualong One or HPR1000 thus has 177 fuel assemblies 3.66 m long, 18-24 month refuelling interval, equilibrium fuel load will be 72 assemblies with 4.45% enriched fuel. It has three coolant loops, double containment and active safety systems with some passive elements, and a 60-year design life. The CGN version delivers 3150 MWt, 1150 MWe gross, 1092 MWe net, while CNNC quotes 1161 MWe gross, 1140 MWe net. Average burn-up is 45,000 MWd/tU. Seismic tolerance is 300 Gal. Instrumentation and control systems will be from Areva-Siemens, but overall 90% will be indigenous components. Target cost in China is $2800-3000/kWe, though recent estimates mention $3500/kW. CGN said in November 2015 that the series construction cost would be CNY 17,000/kWe ($2650/kWe), compared with CNY 13,000/kWe for generation II reactors. The CNNC and CGN versions will be very similar but not identical; they will have slightly different safety systems, with CNNC emphasising more passive safety under AP1000 influence with increased containment volume, and CGN with French influence having several active safety trains. Also each organisation will maintain much of its own supply chain. The new design has been variously called Hualong 1000 or HL1000 by CGN, ACP1000 by CNNC, and generically Hualong One, or HPR1000 – Hualong Pressurised Reactor 1000.

The first units are Fangchenggang 3&4 (CGN) and Fuqing 5&6 (CNNC). The 'rationalisation' was helped by greater commonality in ownership of the two companies as set out in September 2012 though still not implemented a year later. Fuqing 5 started construction in May 2015, and it then emerged that the primary coolant pumps were behind schedule. Harbin Electric Company (HEC) formed a special team with CNNC to address the issue. The CGN version of Hualong One, Fangchenggang 3&4, will be the reference plant for the UK’s Bradwell B, and unit 3 construction started in December 2015.

CNNC and CGN in December 2015 formed a 50-50 joint venture company – Hualong International Nuclear Power Technology Co – to market the Hualong One. The company is "committed to the continued integration and development of Hualong One as an independent third generation nuclear power technology, with the unified management of the Hualong brand, intellectual property and other related assets at home and abroad.”

In some respects the Hualong was originally conceived as a reactor for export but in reality and given the difficulties of the AP1000 in recent years, notably on canned motor pumps, it has emerged as a competitor on national soil and an alternative to the AP1000.

It appears that the CNNC ‘Hualong One’ version will be the main domestic model built with the aim of lowering the price of the reactor to equip the national fleet cheaply. After Fuqing 5&6 CNNC plans to build the next at Zhangzhou in Fujian province, previously an AP1000 project. This reactor design will be dedicated to the domestic market and some international markets such as Pakistan, Argentina, and Eastern Europe. It is under construction in Pakistan.

The Hualong One promoted on the international market, is called HPR1000 and is for countries such as the UK and South Africa. It will be based on the CGN version, with Fangchenggang as reference, and CGN may also build it as Ningde 5&6. In October 2015 CGN submitted the HPR1000 for certification of compliance with European Utility Requirements (EUR), and in March 2016 CGN signed an agreement with Skoda Praha to facilitate this. General Nuclear Systems (GNS), the joint venture of EDF Energy and CGN formed to progress the UK generic design approval (GDA) wrote to the UK government in October 2016 saying it was ready to start the GDA process. CNNC export efforts are likely to leave Europe to CGN.

CGNPC Progressive Localisation of CPR 1000 bar chart


Russia's Atomstroyexport was general contractor and equipment provider for the Tianwan 1&2 AES-91 power plants using the V-428 version of the well-proven VVER-1000 reactor of 1060 MWe capacity. The reactors incorporate Finnish safety features and Siemens-Areva instrumentation and control (I&C) systems. Russia's Energoatom is responsible for maintenance from 2009. Tianwan units 3&4 will use the same version of the VVER-1000 reactor with Areva I&C systems.

In 2013 Atomergoproekt said it was promoting the VVER-TOI to CNNC and engineering companies. Tianwan 7&8 will apparently be these or the AES-2006 plant with Leningrad as reference.


From 1998 Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) built the two-unit Qinshan Phase III plant on schedule and under budget and estimates that it could be replicated for 25% lower cost. Any replication would be on the basis of involving local engineering teams, not on a turnkey basis, but the technology is now well understood and the decades-old Candu-6 design would likely pose fewer problems for technology transfer than state-of-the-art third-generation designs from Westinghouse and Areva. (The Candu-6 units at Wolsong 2-4 in Korea had substantial local content, reaching 75% localization with unit 4.)

In September 2005, AECL signed a technology development agreement with CNNC which opened the possibility of it supplying further Candu-6 reactors and undertaking fuel cycle developments based on them. This agreement with CNNC was passed to its subsidiary, the Nuclear Power Institute of China (NPIC). From 2008 it has focused on joint development of the Advanced Fuel Cycle Candu Reactor (AFCR).

Advanced Fuel Candu Reactor

In September 2016 an agreement among SNC-Lavalin, CNNC and Shanghai Electric Group (SEC) was to set up a joint venture in mid-2017 to develop, market and build the Advanced Fuel Candu Reactor (AFCR), which will utilise used fuel from other reactors. Two design centres are envisaged, in China and Canada, to complete the AFCR technology. This could lead to construction of two AFCR units in China. See fuller account in R&D section of China Fuel Cycle information paper.

High temperature gas-cooled reactors: HTR, HTR-200, HTR-600, etc

In February 2006, the State Council announced that the small high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTR) was the second of two high priority National Major Science & Technology Projects for the next 15 years. This aims at exploring co-generation options in the near-term and producing hydrogen in the long term.

The small HTR-PM (HTR Pebble-bed Modular) units with pebble bed fuel and helium coolant were to be 200 MWe reactors, similar to that then being developed in South Africa, but plans have evolved to make them twin 105 MWe (equivalent) reactors so that they can retain the same core configuration as the prototype HTR-10. The twin units, each with a single steam generator, will drive a single steam turbine. Core height is 11 metres, and steam will be at 566°C. The engineering of the key structures, systems, and components is based on Chinese capabilities, though they include completely new technical features. Thermal efficiency of 40%, localization 75%, and 50-month construction for the first unit is envisaged.

China Huaneng Group (CHNG) is the lead organization in the consortium to build the demonstration Shidaowan HTR-PM with China Nuclear Engineering & Construction Group (CNEC) and Tsinghua University's INET, which is the R&D leader. Chinergy Co., a joint venture of Tsinghua and CNEC, is the main contractor for the nuclear island. Following the agreement on HTR industrialization cooperation between CNEC and Tsinghua University in 2003, the two parties signed a further agreement on commercialization of the HTR in March 2014. CNEC is responsible for the HTR technical implementation, and becomes the main investor of HTR commercial promotion at home and abroad.

Thus the initial demonstration HTR-PM at Shidaowan, near Weihai city, will pave the way for commercial versions with multiple modules each 2x105 MWe with its own turbine, hence 400 MWe, 600 MWe or 800 MWe reactor units.*

* An earlier proposal was for 18 further 210 MWe units at the same site – total 3800 MWe, but this has been dropped.

The main HTR promotion is of the 600 MWe version. (It is possible that these commercial HTR plants will have larger turbines.) Then in April 2015 CNEC announced that its proposal for two commercial 600 MWe HTRs at Ruijin city in Jiangxi province had passed an initial feasibility review. This HTR-600 is based on HTR-200 by adding modules. CNEC and the provincial government are applying to the NDRC for approval, and expected to start construction in 2017 for grid connection in 2021. No major utility had been named at that stage, but in July 2016 CNEC signed an agreement with CGN to set up a joint venture led by CNEC to develop HTRs domestically and overseas. It then signed a cooperation agreement with China First Heavy Industries (CFHI or YiZhong) to support the supply chain.

CNEC has done a feasibility study and commenced preliminary work on a commercial-scale HTR at Wan’an in Fujian province, close to Ningde, according to CNEC subsidiary China Nuclear Industry Huachen Construction Co. This appears to be instead of Ruijin.

In 2016 CNEC signed agreements to develop HTRs in Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

(See also Research and development section in page on China's Nuclear Fuel Cycle.)

Fast neutron reactors

Longer-term, fast neutron reactors (FNRs) are seen as the main technology, and CNNC expects the FNR to become predominant by mid-century. A 65 MWt fast neutron reactor – the Chinese Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR) – near Beijing achieved criticality in July 2010, and was grid-connected a year later.6 Based on this, a 600 MWe pre-conceptual design was developed. The current plan is to develop an indigenous 1000 MWe design to begin construction in 2017, and commissioning 2023. This is known as the Chinese Demonstration Fast Reactor (CDFR) project 1. It is intended to be followed by a CFR1000 for commercial operation from 2030, according to China Institute of Atomic Energy. Xiapu in Fujian province is reported to be a second FNR site, evidently for the prototype so-called travelling-wave reactor TWR-P.

In addition to CDFR project 1, in October 2009, an agreement with Russia confirmed China's intention to opt for the BN-800 technology as CDFR project 2. The 880 MWe gross BN-800 reactor built by OKBM Afrikantov at Beloyarsk in Siberia is the reference design and the first two in China were planned to start construction in 2013 at Sanming, Fujian province, with the first to be in operation in 2019 (see see section below on Sanming). However, despite promotion by NIAEP-Atomstroyexport the project did not proceed.

See also Fast neutron reactors section in page on China's Nuclear Fuel Cycle.

Floating nuclear power plants

In May 2014 the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) signed an agreement with Rosatom to cooperate in construction of floating nuclear cogeneration plants (FNPPs) for China offshore islands. These would be built in China but be based on Russian technology, and possibly using Russian KLT-40S reactors – Russia’s TVEL anticipated providing fuel for them. In July 2014 Rusatom Overseas signed a further agreement, this time with CNNC New Energy, for the joint development of FNPPs – both barge-mounted and self-propelled – from 2019.

Since then however, both CNNC and CGN have announced proposals for indigenous FNPPs based on their respective small reactor designs.

CGN announced in January 2016 that development of its ACPR50S reactor design has been approved by the NDRC as part of the 13th Five-Year Plan for innovative energy technologies. Construction of the first demonstration FNPP was expected to start in 2017, with electricity generation to begin in 2020.

CGN then signed an agreement with China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) apparently to provide power for offshore oil and gas exploration and production, and to “push forward the organic integration of the offshore oil industry and the nuclear power industry,” according to CNOOC. Soon after, it signed an agreement with China’s largest shipbuilder, China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) to "jointly promote cooperation on nuclear power offshore platform projects." In April 2016 CSIC confirmed that in collaboration with CGN it will build the first FNPP at its Bohai shipyard, for trial operation in 2019, supplying power and desalination. In November 2016 CGN announced that it had contracted with Dongfang Electric Corporation for the pressure vessel of a demonstration ACPR50S unit, which it said amounted to start of construction. There are plans for 20 more. CSIC has already designed both a FNPP concept and a submersible nuclear power plant concept.

CNNC announced in October 2015 that is subsidiary, the Nuclear Power Institute of China (NPIC), signed an agreement with UK-based Lloyd's Register to support the development of a floating nuclear power plant using the ACP100S reactor, a marine version of the ACP100. Following approval by the NDRC as part of the 13th Five-Year Plan for innovative energy technologies, CNNC said it was planning to start building its ACP100S demonstration floating nuclear plant late in 2016, for 2019 operation. In July 2016 CNNC signed an agreement with CSIC to give effect to its plans.

Embarking upon Generation III plants

In September 2004, the State Council approved plans for two units at Sanmen, followed by six units at Yangjiang (two to start with), these to be 1000 or 1500 MWe reactors pioneering Generation III nuclear technology from overseas. The Sanmen (in Zhejiang province) and Yangjiang (in Guangdong province) reactors were subject to an open bidding process for third-generation designs, with contracts to be awarded in mid-2006 – in the event, mid-2007 – putting them clearly into the 11th Five Year Plan.

Bidding process

This open bidding process underlined the extent to which China is making itself part of the world nuclear industry, and yet at first remaining somewhat ambivalent about that.

Three bids were received for the four Sanmen and Yangjiang reactors: from Westinghouse (AP1000 reactors), Areva (EPR) and Atomstroyexport (VVER-1000 model V-392). The State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC), directly under China's State Council, was in charge of technology selection for new plants being bid from overseas.

Some 200 experts spent over a year evaluating Generation III designs and in September 2006 most of the 34 assigned to decide voted for the AP1000. The key factors in choosing this were passive design, simplified safety system, modular construction giving more rapid build and better cost control, and smaller components allowing more ready localization.

The USA, French and Russian governments were reported to be giving firm support as finance and support arrangements were put in place. The US Export-Import bank approved $5 billion in loan guarantees for the Westinghouse bid, and the French Coface company was expected similarly to finance Areva for its bid. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave approval for Westinghouse to export equipment and engineering services as well as the initial fuel load and one replacement for the four units. Bids for both two-unit plants were received in Beijing on behalf of the two customers: China General Nuclear Power Co (CGN) for Yangjiang, and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) for Sanmen. Bids were for the nuclear portion of each plant only, the turbine tenders to be called for subsequently.

Bids were assessed on level of technology, the degree to which it was proven, price, local content, and technology transfer – which apparently became the major factor. Areva and Westinghouse were short-listed. However, the decision on reactor type was delayed, and came under review at the highest political level, with CNNC evidently pushing for the use of indigenous second-generation designs for both sites.

In December 2006, 22 months after the bids were submitted and after several revisions to them, the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor design was confirmed for the four units – two each at Sanmen and Yangjiang. Early in 2007, the two units planned for the Yangjiang site were switched to Haiyang in the more northerly Shandong province, making way for two EPR units Areva was in negotiations to build at Yangjiang. Later in 2007, plans for the EPRs under consideration for Yangjiang were transferred to another Guangdong site – Taishan – since there was pressure to build a lot of capacity quickly at Yangjiang.

Sanmen 1&2 and Haiyang 1&2

A framework agreement was signed at the end of February 2007 between Westinghouse and SNPTC specifying Haiyang and Sanmen for the four AP1000 units. In July 2007, Westinghouse, along with consortium partner Shaw, signed the contracts with SNPTC, Sanmen Nuclear Power Company (51% owned by CNNC), Shangdong Nuclear Power Company (61% owned by CPI) and China National Technical Import & Export Corporation (CNTIC) for four AP1000 reactors. Specific terms were not disclosed but the figure of $5.3 billion for the first two was widely quoted. In December 2007 the Chinese and US governments signed the intergovernmental agreement for the construction of AP1000 projects in China and technology transfer.

Sanmen site works commenced in February 2008 and full construction on Sanmen 1 – the world's first AP1000 unit – officially commenced on 19 April 2009. The reactor was expected to begin operation at the end of 2015 with the second less than one year later. First concrete at Haiyang 1 was in September 2009, and the pressure vessel was installed in January 2012. The first Haiyang unit is expected to commence operation in 2017.

The future of Haiyang, as envisaged by CNNC

Construction has been slower than planned, the main problem being with US-made main coolant pumps (four in each reactor). These worked well in normal operation but had insufficient inertia to continue long enough for full passive safety effectiveness when not powered. Following successful tests,* the modified pumps were shipped from Curtiss-Wright to Sanmen, and the fourth was installed in unit 1 in March 2016. This is also a milestone enabling modified pumps to be supplied to seven other AP1000 units under construction in both China and the USA. The first Sanmen unit is now expected to start up at the end of 2016 and enter commercial operation in mid 2017.

* The final performance testing verified successful pump operation during a full range of AP1000 plant operating conditions for more than 1,600 total hours, including more than 600 start-and-stop cycles. Extensive reviews and detailed post-test inspections by the NNSA confirmed performance as designed during the final testing. Curtiss-Wright conducted the testing and inspection at its Electro-Mechanical Division (EMD) facility in Cheswick, Pennsylvania, USA. SNPTC said: "This success will further accelerate China AP1000 project construction progress as well as boost advanced passive Generation III nuclear power development in China."

AP1000 construction and equipment contracts

Westinghouse and Shaw Group have an engineering, procurement, commissioning and start-up as well as project management contract with SNPTC for the first four reactors (Sanmen & Haiyang). Also Shaw has a contract with State Nuclear Power Engineering Corp. Ltd, a SNPTC subsidiary, for technical support for the first two Dafan, Xianning units in Hubei province, including engineering and design management, project controls, quality assurance, construction management and project management.

In April 2007, Westinghouse signed a $350 million contract with Doosan Heavy Industries in Korea for two pressure vessels and four steam generators for Sanmen 1 and Haiyang 1. The pressure vessels for the other two units are being made by Chinese manufacturers: China First Heavy Industries (CFHI, also known as YiZhong) for Sanmen 2 and Shanghai Electric Group Corporation (SEC) for Haiyang 2. Steam generators for Sanmen 2 and Haiyang 2 were manufactured by Harbin Power Equipment Co., Ltd. (HPEC, now Harbin Electric Co, HEC) and SEC, respectively, though a contract for Sanmen 2 steam generators was let to Spain's ENSA in 2011. The Sanmen 1 reactor pressure vessel arrived on site from Doosan in July 2011.

All four steam turbine generators were supplied by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). In a $521 million deal, Sanmen Nuclear Power ordered two turbine generator packages from MHI at the end of September 2007, with Shandong Nuclear Power ordering another two early in 2008. MHI's Takasago Machinery Works manufactured the turbines, including rotors and blades. Mitsubishi Electric Corporation is supplying the generators and Harbin Electric Co (HEC), partnering with MHI, was responsible for turbine casings, piping and associated facilities. The turbines boost the capacity of the reactors from their original 1175 MWe to 1250 MWe gross.

In 2014 Westinghouse said that the second plant at each site saw a 30% reduction in manpower requirements compared with the first unit. The company is also working on the next eight units in China and expects about a 50% productivity increase compared with the first two Chinese AP1000 units.

The AP1000 Technology Transfer agreement to SNPTC covered 34 task packages in 7 categories. In November 2010, further contracts were signed between SNPTC and Westinghouse, including one for Westinghouse to provide SNPTC with technical consulting services in research and development of the CAP1400 nuclear power plant, to be developed by SNPTC with Chinese intellectual property rights. Westinghouse said that having shared design technology with SNERDI, it expected 100% localization by 2015.

In January 2011, a further agreement was signed with SNPTC to deploy further AP1000 units, and to extend the 2008 technology cooperation agreement for another two years. SNPTC said the deal also included measures "to develop cooperation in the field of overseas markets." Another agreement was signed with China Baotou Nuclear Fuel Co "to design, manufacture and install fuel fabrication equipment that will enable China to manufacture fuel" for AP1000 units. The latter $35 million contract involves supply and installation of US equipment at Baotou.

In June 2011 Westinghouse confirmed that as part of the earlier construction agreement it would transfer intellectual property rights to SNPTC. In September 2014 Westinghouse said that it expected to be involved in orders for eight further units, followed by 12 more inland and 12 on the coast. It expected “to have 20 AP1000 units under construction in the next five years in China.”

In 2015 SNPTC merged with CPI and took over all its nuclear business as a sub-group of the new State Power Investment Corporation (SPI) entity. It then claimed that its supply chain could support construction of 6-8 AP/CAP units each year, with up to five suppliers for each key item.

Taishan 1&2 EPR

In February 2007, EDF entered a cooperation agreement with CGN (then: CGNPC) to build and operate a two-unit EPR power station at Yangjiang in Guangdong province. This deal was not expected to involve the technology transfer which is central to the Westinghouse contracts, since the EPR has multiple redundant safety systems rather than passive safety systems and is seen to be more complex and expensive, hence of less long-term interest to China. However, negotiations with Areva and EDF dragged on and in August 2007 it was announced that the EPR project had been shuffled to Taishan (in Guangdong) so that six CPR-1000 units previously planned for that site could be built at Yangjiang as soon as possible.

At a November 2007 ceremony attended by Chinese president Hu Jintao and French president Nicolas Sarkozy in Beijing's Great Hall of the People, Areva initialed an €8 billion contract with CGN for the two EPRs at Taishan plus supply of fuel to 2026 and other materials and services for them. The whole project, including fuel supply, totals €8 billion, of which the nuclear reactors themselves were reported to be about €3.5 billion. Steam turbine generators costing €300 million are included in the larger sum. The Guangdong Development Commission quoted the total investment in both units as CNY 49.85 billion ($7.3 billion). The joint venture partners will put up CNY 16.45 billion and the balance will be borrowed with guarantee from the Central Bank of France. French export credits for the project are reported as €1.7 billion ($2.4 billion), covering purchase of equipment such as steam generators for unit 1 from French suppliers.

In August 2008, EDF and CGN signed the final agreements for the creation of Guangdong Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company Limited (TNPC). EDF will hold 30% of TNPC for a period of 50 years (the maximum period permitted for a joint venture in China), CGN 70%. TNPC will oversee the building, then own and operate the plant. EDF is paying €600 to 800 million over four years for this share, subject to approval by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Commerce. (EDF is project manager and architect for the Flamanville 3 EPR project in France, and this initiative consolidates its change in corporate strategy outside France.)

CGN authorised construction at Taishan in July 2008 and first concrete was poured in October 2009, though the official inauguration ceremony was not until 21 December. The first unit was expected to be connected to the grid early in 2014 with commercial operation two months later, and the second was to be completed in 2015, but they are at least two years behind. The major components for unit 1 are imported: the pressure vessel from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) in Japan and the steam generators from Areva Chalon/St. Marcel in France, but those for unit 2 are all built in China: the pressure vessel by Dongfang Electric (DEC), the steam generators by DEC (two) and Shanghai Electric (two). The Arabelle steam turbines and 1750 MWe generators are being purchased separately from Alstom and Dongfang Electric Co respectively. The first generator was shipped by DEC in August 2013. In March 2012 Areva said unit 1 was 69% complete, with reactor pressure vessel delivered.

In April 2013 Areva, EDF and CGN signed a tripartite agreement for “deeper industrial and commercial cooperation” in building new nuclear power plants and improving all CGN units. However, as of 2013 it appears that not more than two further EPR units will be built in China. CGN has 33.5% of the Hinkley Point C project in the UK, where two EPR units are to be built by EDF after it has taken over Areva’s reactor division.

Nuclear growth

The first two nuclear power plants in mainland China were at Daya Bay near Hong Kong and Qinshan, south of Shanghai, with construction starting in the mid-1980s. Localisation has risen from 1% at Daya Bay to 64% at Ling Ao Phase II, 75% at Hongyanhe, 80% at Ningde and 85% at Yangjiang.

China's concerted nuclear expansion began with the National Development and Reform Commission's (NDRC's) Tenth Economic Plan for the years 2001-2005, with increased self-reliance. (China's first economic plan was in 1953 and began China's centrally planned industrialization under Mao Zedong.) It incorporated the construction of eight nuclear power plants, though the timeline for contracts was extended, putting the last two projects into the 11th plan. The Eleventh Economic Plan for the years 2006-2010 set even more ambitious goals than the Tenth for new nuclear plant construction, and marked a watershed in China's commitment to third-generation reactors, such as the Sanmen plant in Zhejiang province and Haiyang plant in Shandong province (see section above on Reactor technology) as well as maturing of CPR-1000 technology. The 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) also had firmer environmental goals than previously, including reduction of 20% in the amount of energy required per unit of GDP, i.e. 4% reduction per year.

In 2007, it was announced that three state-owned corporations had been authorised by the NNSA to own and operate nuclear power plants: CNNC, CGN and China Power Investment Corporation (CPI, now SPIC). Any other public or private companies are to have minority shares (up to 25%) in new projects, which proved a severe constraint on the ambitions of the country's main power utilities (including Huaneng, Huadian, Datang and Guodian), all of which have set up nuclear subsidiaries or become involved in nuclear projects. After eight years' experience as minor partners in construction and operation of nuclear plants they may hold a share of 25% or more. Today Huaneng has 49% in Changjiang, Datang has 44% in Ningde, Huadian has 39% in Fuqing, and Guodian 5% in Haiyang and 49% in Zhangzhou (both main and SMR projects). The Shidaowan HTR project is classed as R&D, so Huaneng has 47.5% and CNEC 32.5%. CNEC aims to qualify as a nuclear plant operator.

The 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) included construction start on phase II of Tianwan, Hongyanhe, Sanmen and Haiyang, as well as phase I of inland sites: Taohuajiang, Xianning, and Pengze (2 reactors each except Taohuajiang: 4). By the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan some 25 GWe of new capacity was planned to be operational, making some 40 GWe, and 45 GWe more might be added by the end of the 13th Five Year Plan. The 12th five-year science & technology plan released in July 2011 called for building a demonstration CAP-1400 plant for grid connection in 2015 and the demonstration HTR-PM to begin test operation at Shidaowan before 2015. However, construction starts were delayed following the Fukushima accident, and all the inland plants were put on hold.

More than 16 provinces, regions and municipalities announced intentions to build nuclear power plants in the 12th Five Year Plan 2011-15. so that nuclear plants were operating or under construction in all coastal provinces except Hebei. Provinces put together firm proposals by 2008 and submitted them to the central government's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) for approval during 2009. NRDC consideration is via the new National Energy Administration (NEA). A great many proposals were received, many of which will be deferred to the 13th Plan.

The approvals process in China has three stages:

  1. Siting and feasibility study, with project approval from NDRC.
  2. Construction, requiring first a construction permit and later a fuel loading permit from NNSA.
  3. Commissioning, leading to NNSA operating permit.

In 2014 CPI had plans to achieve 14 GWe of operational capacity by 2020, with 10 GWe under construction then, at nine sites with 40 units. All of this except phase I of Hongyanhe (4xCPR-1000) would be AP1000.

The complex ownership structure of Chinese nuclear plants is described in Appendix 1: Government Structure and Ownership, and China's considerable heavy engineering and manufacturing capacity is detailed in the information page on Heavy Manufacturing of Power Plants. The capacity at the end of 2013 was for eight sets of reactor equipment per year – over 8000 MWe.

On the people and skills front, 47 colleges and research institutes have nuclear major, and more than 2000 graduate each year (4000 in 10th Five-Year Plan, 11,000 in 11th Five-Year Plan). However, a draft regulation provides that any majority shareholder in a nuclear power project is required to make available 300 qualified people, with 50% having worked for five years at a nuclear plant. This limits national and provincial electricity investors relative to the three major nuclear utilities.

Nuclear technology exports

China has a determined policy at NDRC level of exporting nuclear technology, based on development of the CAP1400 reactor with Chinese intellectual property rights and backed by full fuel cycle capability. The policy is being pursued at a high level politically, utilising China's economic and diplomatic influence. CNNC and SNPTC are focused on the export potential of the CAP1400, and SNPTC aims at “exploration of the global market” from 2013, particularly in South America and Asia. In January 2015 the cabinet announced new incentives and financing for industry exports, particularly nuclear power and railways, on the back of $103 billion outbound trade and investment in 2014.

The Hualong One reactor is intended for export, with CGN focusing on Europe and CNNC elsewhere, particularly South America.

Export sales and prospects for Chinese nuclear power plants

Country Plant Type Est. cost Company Status, financing
Pakistan Chasma 3&4 CNP-300 $2.37 billion CNNC Under construction, Chinese finance 82% of $1.9 billion, Exim-Bank
  Karachi Coastal 1&2 Hualong One $9.6 billion CNNC First unit under construction, $6.5 billion vendor finance, maybe 82% China finance, Exim-Bank
Romania Cernavoda 3&4 Candu 6 €7.7 billion CGN Planned, to complete part-built units, Chinese finance, Exim-Bank and ICBC, Nov 2015
Argentina Atucha 3 Candu 6 $5.8 billion CNNC Planned, with local involvement and $2 billion Chinese financing, ICBC
  Atucha 4 or other site Hualong One $7 billion CNNC Vendor financing envisaged, ICBC in lead role
UK Bradwell Hualong One   CGN Promised future opportunity
Iran Makran coast 2 x 100 MWe   CNNC Agreement July 2015
Turkey Igneada AP1000 and CAP1400   SNPTC Exclusive negotiations involving Westinghouse, 2014 agreement
South Africa Thyspunt CAP1400   SNPTC Prepare for submitting bid
Kenya   Hualong 1   CGN MOU July 2015
Egypt   Hualong 1   CNNC MOU May 2015
Sudan   ACP600?   CNNC Framework agreement May 2016
Armenia Metsamor 1 reactor   CNNC Discussion underway
(No country)   HTR600   CNEC Export intention
Kazakhstan   Fuel plant JV   CGN Agreement Dec 2015

In Pakistan, two new 300 MWe CNP-300 PWR units are being built at Chasma, by China Zhongyuan Engineering Corporation, joining the two built there earlier, supplied by CNNC.

In 2013 CNNC announced an export agreement for twin ACP1000 units, for Pakistan’s Karachi Coastal Power station, costing $9.6 billion. This will now use Hualong One technology and be built by China Zhongyuan Engineering Corporation. Construction of the first unit started in August 2015. CNNC is keen to export the Hualong One reactor more widely, and says it is open to EPC, BOT and BOO project models.

In May 2014 Romania’s Nuclearelectrica signed an agreement with CGN to explore the prospect of building two new reactors at Cernavoda, which currently has two Candu 6 reactors. In November 2013 two nuclear cooperation agreements were signed by Nuclearlectrica with CGN, one a letter of intent relating to construction of units 3&4.

In July 2014 a high-level agreement was signed by Argentine and Chinese presidents towards construction of Atucha 3 as a PHWR unit. CNNC will provide most of the equipment and technical services under long-term financing. Candu Energy will be a subcontractor to CNNC. In September the utility NASA signed a commercial framework contract with CNNC to progress this, with CNNC’s Qinshan Phase III units as reference design for a Candu 6 unit. It will have $3.8 billion in local input and $2 billion from China and elsewhere under a long-term financing arrangement.

SNPTC is keen to export the CAP1400 reactor, and considers Turkey and South Africa to be good prospects. In November 2014 SNPTC signed an agreement with Turkey’s utility EUAS and Westinghouse to begin exclusive negotiations to develop and construct a four-unit nuclear power plant in Turkey. In December 2014 it signed two agreements in South Africa with a view to nuclear power plant construction, and CNNC signed another there.

CNEC has promoted the HTR technology to Dubai, UAE, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Indonesia, and has signed agreements with some of them.

The development of small reactors described above, led by the ACP100, is primarily with a view to export markets, following demonstration units at home.

Development of reprocessing capacity is seen to be important as a service industry backing up nuclear technology exports.

As well as specifically nuclear exports, the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) is building a 2084 km UHV DC transmission line in Brazil, for over $2.3 billion.

First and second-wave nuclear plants: varied beginnings to 2010

Daya Bay, Ling Ao Phase I

These are essentially on the one site in Guangdong province, close to Hong Kong. The Daya Bay reactors are standard 3-loop French PWR units supplied by Framatome and designated M310, with GEC-Alstom turbines. Electricite de France (EDF) managed construction, starting August 1987, with the participation of Chinese engineers. Commercial operation of the two Daya Bay units was in February and May 1994. There were long outages in 1994-96 when Framatome had to replace major components. Reactor vessel heads were replaced in 2004. The plant produces about 13 billion kWh per year, with 70% transmitted to Hong Kong  and 30% to Guangdong.


Daya Bay (CGN)

The Ling Ao Phase I reactors are virtually replicas of adjacent Daya Bay units. Construction started in May 1997 and Ling Ao 1 started up in February 2002 entering commercial operation in May. Ling Ao 2 was connected to the grid about September 2002 and entered commercial operation in January 2003. The two Ling Ao reactors use French M310 technology supplied by Framatome (now Areva), but with 30% localisation. They are reported to have cost $1800 per kilowatt.

Daya Bay and Ling Ao I & II together comprise the 'Daya Bay nuclear power base' managed by Daya Bay Nuclear Power Operations & Management Co (DNMC), part of China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN). For Ling Ao Phase II, see below.


Qinshan 1 in Zhejiang province 100 km southwest of Shanghai, is China's first indigenously-designed and constructed nuclear power plant (though with the pressure vessel supplied by Mitsubishi, Japan). Design of the 300 MWe PWR was by the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research & Design Institute (SNERDI). Construction work spanned 6.5 years from March 1985, with first grid connection in December 1991. It was shut down for 14 months for major repairs from mid-1998.

In October 2007, Qinshan 1 was shut down for a major upgrade. The entire instrumentation and control system was replaced, along with the reactor pressure vessel head and control rod drives. Areva NP supervised the work, which is likely to lead to life extension beyond the original 30 years.

Qinshan Phase II units 1&2 are locally-designed and constructed 2-loop PWR reactors, scaled up from Qinshan 1, and designated CNP-600. Local content was 55%. Unit 1 started up at the end of 2001 and entered commercial operation in April 2002. Unit 2 started up in March 2004, with commercial operation in May 2004. Units 3 & 4 are similar, with local content of 77%. After 53 months construction, unit 3 was grid connected on 1 August 2010, and entered commercial operation 12 weeks later8. Unit 4 was grid-connected in November 2011 and entered commercial operation in April 2012. CNNC claims that Qinshan phase II "is the first independently-designed, built, managed and operated large commercial nuclear power station in China."

Construction of the second stage of Qinshan Phase II was formally inaugurated at the end of April 2006, though first concrete had been poured for unit 3 in March. That for unit 4 was poured in January 2007. Local content of the two 650 MWe CNP-600 reactors is more than 70% and they entered commercial operation in 2010 and 2012.

In 2004, CNNC announced that the next two Qinshan units would be 1000 MWe indigenous units (in effect Fangjiashan, adjacent to Qinshan 1, has taken over this role).

Qinshan Phase III units 1&2 use the Candu 6 pressurised heavy water reactor (PHWR) technology, with Atomic Energy of Canada (AECL) being the main contractor of the project on a turnkey basis. Construction began in 1997 and unit 1 started up in September 2002 and unit 2 in April 2003. They are each about 678 MWe net.

Tianwan phase I

Tianwan Phase I at Lianyungang city in Jiangsu province is a Russian AES-91 power plant (with two 1060 MWe V-428 VVER reactors) constructed under a cooperation agreement between China and Russia – the largest such project ever. The cost is reported to be $3.2 billion, with China contributing $1.8 billion of this. Completion was delayed due to corrosion in the steam generators which resulted in some tubes having to be plugged with a net loss of capacity of about 2%. The first unit was grid connected in May 2006 and put into commercial operation in June 2007. The second was grid connected in May 2007, with commercial operation in August 2007. Design life is 40 years.

Ling Ao Phase II (Ling Dong)

While the bidding process for the delayed Generation III plants from overseas vendors was in train over more than two years (see section above on Embarking upon Generation III plants), the China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) signed contracts with Chinese designers and manufacturers for two reactors as Phase II of the Ling Ao power station (also known as Ling Dong). Construction started in December 2005 with the 1080 MWe (gross), 1037 MWe (net) units. They are transitional M310 - CPR-1000 units of 1037 MWe net. Unit 1 is about 50% localized and unit 2 is 70% localized, built under the project management of China Nuclear Power Engineering Corporation (CNPEC), part of CGNPC. Low-speed Arabelle turbine-generator sets were provided by Alstom or DEC. In June 2009, the first Chinese-made reactor pressure vessel for a 1000 MWe class reactor was delivered for unit 2, from Dongfang (Guangzhou) Heavy Machinery Co. Unit 1 started up in June 2010 with grid connection in mid-July, 54 months after construction start, and entered commercial operation in September. Unit 2 is expected to commence operation in 2011. Unit 2 was grid connected in May, 60 months after construction start, and commenced commercial operation on schedule in August 2011. The plant is managed by Daya Bay Nuclear Power Operations & Management Co (DNMC).

Operating nuclear power reactors

Units Province Net capacity (each) Type Operator Commercial operation
Daya Bay 1&2 Guangdong 944 MWe French M310 CGN 1994
Qinshan Phase I Zhejiang 298 MWe CNP-300 CNNC April 1994
Qinshan Phase II, 1&2 Zhejiang 610 MWe CNP-600 CNNC 2002, 2004
Qinshan Phase II, 3&4 Zhejiang 619, 610 MWe CNP-600 CNNC 2010, 2012
Qinshan Phase III, 1&2 Zhejiang 677 MWe Candu 6 PHWR CNNC 2002, 2003
Fangjiashan 1&2 Zhejiang 1020 MWe* CPR-1000 (M310+) CNNC Dec 2014, Feb 2015
Ling Ao Phase I, 1&2 Guangdong 950 MWe French M310 CGN 2002, 2003
Ling Dong/Ling Ao Phase II, 1&2 Guangdong 1007 MWe CPR-1000 (M310) CGN Sept 2010, Aug 2011
Tianwan 1&2 Jiangsu 990 MWe VVER-1000 CNNC 2007, 2007
Ningde 1&2 Fujian 1018 MWe CPR-1000 CGN & Datang April 2013, May 2014
Ningde 3&4 Fujian 1018 MWe CPR-1000 CGN & Datang June 2015, July 2016
Hongyanhe 1&2 Liaoning 1061 MWe CPR-1000 CGN & SPI June 2013, May 2014
Hongyanhe 3&4 Liaoning 1060 MWe* CPR-1000 CGN & SPI Aug 2015, Sept 2016
Yangjiang 1&2 Guangdong 1020 MWe* CPR-1000 CGN March 2014, June 2015
Yangjiang 3&4 Guangdong 1020 MWe* CPR-1000+ CGN Jan 2016, (mid-2017)
Fuqing 1&2 Fujian 1020 MWe* CPR-1000 (M310+) CNNC & Huadian Nov 2014, Oct 2015
Fuqing 3 Fujian 1020 MWe* CPR-1000 (M310+) CNNC & Huadian Oct 2016
Fangchenggang 1&2 Guanxi 1020 MWe* CPR-1000 CGN Jan 2016, Oct 2016
Changjiang 1&2 Hainan 610 MWe CNP-600 CNNC & Huaneng Dec 2015, Aug 2016
Total: 36   32,637 MWe  

* Estimate based on 1080, 1086 or 1089 MWe gross, except Hongyanhe 3 & 4: 1119 gross; other net figures from PRIS.

In addition, the China Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR) is grid-connected and producing 20 MWe net. It is included in IAEA figures for operational reactors.

Further nuclear plants: operating, under construction and planned

China General Nuclear Power (CGN) was expecting to have 34,000 MWe nuclear capacity on line by 2020, providing 20% of the province's power, and 16,000 MWe under construction then. From 2010 it expected to commission three units per year and, from 2015, four units per year. CGN is also, due to State Council policy, committed to developing significant wind capacity through CGN Wind Co. It projected a total of 500 MWe wind by 2020.

In 2006, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) signed agreements in Liaoning, Hebei, Shandong and Hunan provinces and six cities in Hunan, Anhui and Guangdong provinces to develop nuclear projects. CNNC pointed out that there was room for 30 GWe of further capacity by 2020 in coastal areas and maybe more inland such as Hunan "where conditions permit". Its development projects since than have changed to some extent as described below.

China nuclear power plant construction

China Nuclear Power Plant Construction graphic

Jesper Antonsson (data from PRIS) 2016. Red = estimated completion.


Nuclear reactors under construction and planned 

Plant Province MWe gross Reactor model Project control Construction start Operation, grid connect
units 1&2
Zhejiang 2x1250 AP1000 CNNC 3/09, 12/09 end 2016, 2017
units 1&2
Shandong 2x1250 AP1000 SPI 9/09, 6/10 early 2017, late 2017
units 1&2
Guangdong 2x1750 EPR CGN 12/09, 4/10 early 2017, late 2017
Shandong Shidaowan Shandong 210 HTR-PM Huaneng 12/12 2017
unit 4
Fujian 1080 CPR-1000 (M310+) CNNC & Huadian 11/12 3/2017
units 3&4
Jiangsu 2x1060 VVER-1000 V-428M CNNC 12/12, 9/13 2/2016, 3/2017
units 5&6
Guangdong 2x1087 ACPR1000 CGN 9/13, 12/13 2018, 2019
units 5&6
Liaoning 2x1080? ACPR1000 CGN, with SPI 3/15, 7/15 11/2019, 8/2020
units 5&6
Fujian 2x1161 Hualong 1 CNNC & Huadian 5/15, 12/15 2019, 2020
units 3&4
Guangxi 2x1150 Hualong 1 CGN 12/15, 12/16 2019-20
units 5&6
Jiangsu 2x1080 ACPR1000 CNNC 12/15, 9/16 12/2020, 10/2021
Bohai shipyard   1x60 ACPR50S CGN 11/16 2020
units 5&6
Fujian 2x1150 Hualong 1 CGN & Datang 2017 2020-21
units 1&2
Shandong 2x1400 CAP1400 SNPTC & Huaneng 3/16, delayed 12/2020, 2021
units 1&2
Liaoning 2x1250 AP1000 CNNC, Datang 2017 2020-21
units 3&4
Zhejiang 2x1250 AP1000 CNNC 2017 2020-21
units 3&4
Shandong 2x1250 AP1000 SPI 2017 2020-21
Lufeng (Shanwei)
units 1&2
Guangdong 2x1250  AP1000 CGN 2017 2020-21
units 1&2
Fujian 2x1150 Hualong 1 Guodian & CNNC May 2017  
units 5&6
Guangxi 2x1150 Hualong 1 CGN 2017  
units 1&2
Guangxi 2x1250 AP1000 SPI 2017  
units 1&2
Guangdong 2x1250 AP1000 CGN 2017-18  
units 1&2
Fujian 2x100 ACP100 CNNC & Guodian 2017  
units 3&4
Guangdong 2x1750 EPR? CGN 2017-18  
units 3&4
Hainan 2x650 CNP-650 or
CNNC & Huaneng 2017-18  
units 3&4
Fujian 2x1150 Hualong 1 Guodian & CNNC ?  
units 1&2
Hebei 2x1250 AP1000 CNNC mid-2016, mid-2017 12/2020
units 1-4
Hunan (inland) 4x1250 AP1000 CNNC 2017-18*  
units 1&2
Jiangxi (inland) 2x1250 AP1000 SPI 2017*  
Xianning (Dafan)
units 1&2
Hubei (inland) 2x1250 AP1000 CGN 2017*  
no site announced Fujian? 2x600 CFR600 CNNC? Dec 2017  
  Under construction


  Planned: 8x1150
Total: 62 21 Under const
32 + 8 Planned
23,086 MWe
45,700 MWe

Where construction has started, the dates are marked in bold. Those here not under construction are marked as 'planned' in the WNA reactor table. At 16 Jan 2017, totals as above. Fangjiashan is sometimes shown as a development of Qinshan Phase I. It is likely that some planned AP1000 units beyond about 30 in total will be displaced by Hualong One.

Further nuclear power units proposed

Plant Province MWe gross Expected model Project control Construction Start up
Nanchong (Nanchun, Sanba) units 1-4 Sichuan 4x1150 Hualong 1 CGN    
units 3&4
Shandong 2x1250 AP1000 SNPTC & Huaneng    
units 7&8
Jiangsu 2x1200 VVER-1200
Xianning (Dafan)
units 3&4
Hubei 2x1250 AP1000 CGN    
units 3&4
Jiangxi 2x1250 AP1000 CPI    
units 3&4
Guanxi 2x1250 AP1000 CPI    
units 5&6
Shandong 2x1250 AP1000 SNPTC & Huaneng    
Ruijin or Wan'an
units 1&2
Jiangxi or Fujian 2x600
HTR-600 CNEC & CGN 2017? 2022
units 5&6
Shandong 2x1250 AP1000 CPI    
Hongshiding (Rushan)
units 1&2
Shandong 2x1150 Hualong 1 CNNC    
units 1&2
Hebai 2x1150 Hualong 1 CNNC & Huadian    
units 3&4
Hunan 2x1250 AP1000 CPI    
units 1&2
Guangxi 2x1250 AP1000 CPI    
units 3&4
Guangxi 2x1250 AP1000 CPI    
units 3-6
Liaoning 4x1250 AP1000 CNNC with Datang    
Lufeng (Shanwei)
units 3-6
Guangdong 4x1250? AP1000? CGN    
units 1-4
Jiangxi 4x1250 AP1000 Huaneng    
units 1-6
Henan 6x1250? AP1000
(if CPI)
CNNC (or CPI)    
units 1-4
Henan 4x1150 Hualong 1 CGN    
Changde (Chenzhou, Hengyang) Hunan 4x1150 Hualong 1 CNNC & Guodian?, CGN    
units 5&6
Fujian 2x1250 AP1000 CNNC & Guodian    
units 1&2
Anhui 2x1250? AP1000 CNNC    
units 5&6
Zhejiang 2x1250 AP1000 CNNC    
units 1&2
Zhejiang 2x1250 AP1000 CGN & Huaneng    
units 1&2
Chongqing 2x1250 AP1000 CPI    
units 1&2
Jilin 2x1250 AP1000 CPI & Guodian    
units 1&2
Liaoning 2x1150 Hualong 1? Huadian    
units 1-6
Fujian 6x1250 AP1000 Huaneng    
units 1&2
Anhui 2x1250 AP1000 CGN    
units 1&2
Jiangxi 2x100 ACP100 CNNC & Guodian    
units 1&2
Hunan 2x1250 AP1000 CPI    
units 1&2
Jiangxi 2x1250 AP1000 CNNC    
units 1-4
Guangdong (inland) 4x1250 AP1000 CGN    
Subtotal: 92 units   64x1250
=104,500 MWe
Further proposals (less definite or further away)
units 3-6
Hebai 4x1250 AP1000 CNNC & Huadian    
units 3&4
Anhui 2x1250? AP1000? CNNC    
units 3-6
Zhejiang 4x1250 AP1000 CGN/Huaneng    
units 1-4
Zhejiang 4x1250 AP1000 CNNC    
units 1&2
Guangdong 2x1250 AP1000 CGN    
units 3&4
Chongqing 2x1250 AP1000 CPI    
units 3&4
Jilin 2x1250 AP1000 CPI & Guodian    
units 1&2
Shanghai 2x1250? AP1000 CGN & Guodian    
units 3&4
Anhui 2x1250 AP1000 CGN    
units 1-4
Guangdong 4x1250 AP1000 CNNC? CPI?    
units 5&6
Hunan 2x1250 AP1000 CPI    
units 7&8
Shandong 2x1250 AP1000 CPI    
units 1-4
Liaoning 4x1250 AP1000 CPI    
units 1-4
Guangdong 4x1250 AP1000 CGN    
Xiangtan Hunan 4x1250 AP1000 Huadian?    
units 3&4
Liaoning 2x1000   Huadian?    
units 1-4
Liaoning 4x1250 AP1000 Huaneng    
Shizu Chongqing 2x   CNNC    
Qiaofushan Hebai 2x   CNNC    
units 5&6
Hubei 2x1250 AP1000 CGN    
Guangshui Hubei 4x1250 AP1000 CGN    
Zhingxiang Hubei 4x1250 AP1000 CNNC, Datang    
Hebaodao Guangdong 2x   CNNC?    
Yibin Sichuan 2x1250 AP1000 CNNC    
units 1&2
Fujian 2x100 ACP100 CNNC-CNEC    
units 1&2
Jiangxi 2x100 ACP100 CNNC & Guodian    
Tongren Guizhou 2x1250 AP1000 CGN    
Xiapu Fujian 1x210 HTR Huaneng    
unit 1
Fujian 1x600 FNR (TWR-P) CNNC    
Jiamusi Heilongjiang 2x1150 Hualong 1 Huaneng & CNNC, or CGN    
Subtotal: about 79 units   62x1250
8x1000 or?
=90,770 MWe
Total proposed: about 170   195,000 MWe  

It is likely that many proposed AP1000 units listed in this Table will be replaced by Hualong One or CAP1400.
All are PWR except Shidaowan and Ruijin HTRs and Xiapu FNRs. Some of these entries are based on sketchy information. For WNA reactor table, 80% of numbers and capacity from this table are listed as 'Proposed': 136 units and 153 GWe.

Hongyanhe, LHNP

This is the first nuclear power station receiving central government approval to build four units at the same time, and the first in northeast China. Construction of the first unit of the Hongyanhe nuclear power plant in Dalian, Liaoning, started in August 2007. It is the first nuclear power project in the 11th Five-Year Plan, with owner and operator being Liaoning Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Co, a joint venture of CGN and CPI (now SPI) – 45% each – with Dalian Construction Investment Group. It uses CPR-1000 reactors for units 1-4, and in the cold water there they are each 1118.79 MWe gross.

The National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) issued a construction licence for units 3&4 in March 2009, and first concrete for unit 3 was poured soon afterwards. CGN will be responsible for the project construction and the operation of the first five years after commercial operation, with full participation of CPI. The cost of all four 1080 MWe CPR-1000 units in the first construction phase is put at CNY 50 billion (US$ 6.6 billion). China Nuclear Power Engineering Corporation (CNPEC), part of CGN, is managing the project. Shanghai Electric won a $260 million contract for equipment and Alstom providing the four low-speed Arabelle turbine-generator sets for $184 million. Localisation is above 70% for units 1&2 and over 80% for units 3&4.

First power from unit 1 was expected in July 2012, but after delays over 2011 it started up in January 2013 and was grid connected in February, with commercial operation in June. Unit 2 started up in October 2013, was grid connected in November, with commercial operation in May 2014. Unit 3 started up in October 2014 and was grid connected in March 2015 (72 months construction) and entered commercial operation in August. Unit 4 started up in March 2016 and was grid connected early April (78 months construction, after fuel loading was suspended for several months) and due to low demand it was not due to start full commercial operation until 2017, but this was brought forward to September 2016. The project incorporates a 10,080 m3/day seawater desalination plant using waste heat to provide cooling water.

In September 2016 CGN announced completion of phase one of Hongyanhe, “Northeast China’s first nuclear plant and largest energy project.”

In May 2010, the NRDC approved preliminary work on the CNY 25 billion two-unit second phase of the plant (units 5&6), and site work began in July. The National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) and the Environment Ministry approved the project in September 2010, construction start was expected 2011 but following a State Council announcement and final NNSA construction licence, that for unit 5 was in March 2015 and for unit 6, July 2015. NDRC approval was reported in September 2014 and again in February 2015, using ACPR1000 reactors. Localisation is to be above 80%.

Ningde, NDNP

Construction of CGN's six-unit Ningde nuclear power plant commenced in 2008. This is on three islands in Fuding city in northeast of Fujian province, and the first construction phase comprises four CPR-1000 units. Ningde Nuclear Power Co Ltd (NDNP) was set up in 2006 as a joint investment of CGN (46%), China Datang Corporation (44%) and Fujian Energy Group Co., Ltd. The project was approved by the National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC) in September 2006, and local content will be about 75% for units 1&2 and 85% for units 3&4. It marks a significant step into nuclear power for Datang.

Construction of the first unit started in February 2008, and it was grid connected in December 2012 after 58 months. It was declared in commercial operation in April 2013. First concrete for the second unit was in November 2008, it was grid connected in January 2014, with commercial operation in May. Construction start for the third was in January 2010 and for the fourth at the end of September 2010. Grid connection for unit 3 was in March 2015, with commercial operation in June. Grid connection for unit 4 was in March 2016 with commercial operation in July. Total cost for four units was put at CNY 52 billion ($7.6 billion). Dongfang Electric supplied turbine generators for units 1-4, using Alstom Arabelle low-speed technology, at least for units 3&4. The pressure vessel and steam generators for unit 1 are from Dongfang (DFHM), those for unit 2 are from Shanghai Electric (SEC), those for units 3&4 from China First (CFHI).

In February 2014 the NEA approved preliminary work for units 5&6, which are set apart from phase 1 units 1-4, with some siting issues to resolve. CGN has confirmed that they will be Hualong One (HPR1000).


Construction of the six-unit Fuqing nuclear power plant 170 km south of Ningde also commenced in 2008 at Qianxe, Fuqing city in Fujian, between Fuzhou and Putian. The Fujian Fuqing Nuclear Co Ltd was set up in May 2006 by CNNC with 39% held by China Huadian Corp and 10% by Fujian Investment & Development Co Ltd. The CNNC share is held through China National Nuclear Power Co Ltd (CNNP), which used CGN's CPR-1000 reactors for units 1-4 since alternatives were not licensed. CNNC calls these M310+. First concrete for unit 1 was poured in November 2008, for unit 2 in June 2009, for unit 3 in December 2010, and for unit 4 in September or October 2012, almost immediately after NNSA authorization. Total expected cost for all six was CNY 88 billion ($14.3 billion). Unit 1 started up in July 2014, was grid connected in August after 69 months' construction and entered commercial operation in November. Unit 2 started up in July and was grid connected in August 2015 after 74 months' construction and started commercial operation in October. Unit 3 started up in July 2016, was grid-connected in September after 70 months' construction and achieved commercial operation in October. Unit 4 is expected in operation in early 2017.

Construction of the project is by China Nuclear Power Engineering Co. (CNPE) and the reactor pressure vessels are supplied by China First Heavy Industries, as for Fangjiashan. In June 2008, Dongfang Electric Group announced a CNY 5 billion ($725 million) contract for Alstom Arabelle low-speed steam turbine generators for the Fuqing and Fangjiashan plants. Units 3&4 have Areva instrument & control systems.

Late in 2010, CNNC was proposing the CNP1000 for units 5&6, noting "pre-project under way". In October 2011 CNNC said that units 5&6 would be the first ACP1000 units, and in December 2013 it was announced that they would have Areva-Siemens instrument and control systems. DEC will supply the steam generators. In January 2014 CNNC said that they would be CNNC’s first Hualong 1 units. Construction of unit 5, China’s first Hualong One, started in May 2015, and unit 6 construction started in December.


The Fangchenggang nuclear power project is located at Hongsha village, in the Beibu Gulf (Beibu Wan) Economic Zone on the southeast coast of Bailong Bay in the coastal city of Fangchenggang in the Guangxi Autonomous Region (45 km from the Vietnam border in south China). It is sometimes referred to as 'Fangcheng Port' and in ‘Western China’. Following an agreement in July 2006, the first stage (two 1080 MWe CPR-1000 units out of six planned) of the plant was approved by NDRC in October 2008, and again in July 2010. First concrete for unit 1 was poured in July 2010, and for unit 2, late in 2011. About 87% of the first two units will be sourced in China.

In October 2009, a general construction contract was signed with CNPEC for units 1&2. Guangxi Fangchenggang Nuclear Power Co., Ltd., a joint venture between China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (61%) and Guangxi Investment Group (39%), is responsible for the construction and operation. CPI was earlier involved. The first unit achieved criticality and was grid-connected in October and began commercial operation in January 2016, the second was grid-connected in July 2016. A cost of CNY 26 billion ($3.87 billion) was envisaged for these two. In 2011 it was reported that Guangxi wanted to allow for exports to Vietnam. (There is also a Fangchenggang supercritical 2400 MWe coal-fired power station operated by CLP Guangxi Fangchenggang Power Company Limited, a 70:30 equity-basis joint venture between China Light & Power and Guangxi Water & Power Engineering (Group) Co., Ltd.)

CGN from September 2012 planned that stage 2, units 3&4, should be the initial ACPR1000 demonstration units, with construction start in 2014. However, no authorization was forthcoming, and since January 2014 these are to be CGN’s inaugural Hualong HPR1000 units. Construction of unit 3 started in December 2015 and unit 4 in December 2016. These two are to be the reference plant for CGN’s plans to build the Bradwell B nuclear power plant in the UK. In May 2015 CGN ordered the steam generators from DEC, which subcontracted to BWX Technologies in Canada among others. Cost is put at about CNY 30 billion ($4.9 billion).

Phase II units 5&6 were planned as AP1000, but are now to be Hualong One/HPR1000. In December 2015 CGN and Guangxi Investment Group signed an agreement with Ratch China Power Ltd, a subsidiary of Thailand's Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Public Company, a subsidiary of the state-owned Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), to establish a joint venture – Guangxi Fangchenggang Nuclear Power (II) Co Ltd – to develop, construct and operate Phase II of the Fangchenggang plant. Ratch China will hold 10%, CGN 51% and Guangxi 39%. Thailand has added Hualong One to its technology shortlist. Ratch will invest THB 7.5 billion ($208 million) in the project over the five years to 2021 under a 30-year power purchase contract.

Yangjiang, YNPS

Yangjiang city in western Guangdong province had originally been earmarked for the country's first Generation III plants (see section above on Embarking upon Generation III plants). After plans changed in the light of pressing generation needs in the region, Yangjiang will be the second nuclear power base of the China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN). Development of all six units of the Yangjiang plant was approved in 2004, with CPR-1000 later confirmed as the basic technology for it. Local content is about 83% for units 1&2, and is expected to be 85% for units 3&4 and maybe 90% for 5&6 of the evolved design – the first ACPR1000 reactors. Total cost was expected to be CNY 73 billion ($11.5 billion).

Construction of the first of two CPR-1000 units by CNPEC started in December 2008. Unit 1 criticality was achieved in December 2013, with grid connection at the end of the month and commercial operation in March 2014. Unit 2 was grid connected in March 2015 after 67 months' construction and entered commercial operation in June.

Construction of unit 3 started in November 2010, unit 4 in November 2012, immediately after NNSA authorization, then the final two (as the second construction phase) followed from September 2013, with the last to be built by 2018. Units 3&4 are the first of an improved CPR-1000 design sometimes referred to as CPR-1000+. Unit 3 criticality was in October 2015, with grid connection later that month, so 59 months' construction time. Commercial operation was from January 2016. Unit 4 grid connection was in January 2017, after 50 months' construction time. Construction of unit 5 as ACPR1000 began in mid-September 2013 and unit 6 late in December 2013.

Yangjiang 1-6 will be operated under Yangjiang Nuclear Power Co Ltd (YJNPC) management. In July 2010, Hong Kong-based power utility China Light and Power (CLP) agreed to take a 17% stake in Yangjiang – the equivalent of one reactor. However, in September 2013 CGN halted negotiations with CLP, following delays due China’s review of nuclear safety. In October 2016 CGN Power called for bids for 17% of YJNPC, at CNY 5 billion, and CLP submitted a successful tender then. The utility Guangdong YuDian Group Co holds another 17%, while CGN Group and small subsidiaries retain 66% equity.


Construction of CNNC's Fangjiashan plant started at the end of December 2008. It is close to the Qinshan plant in Zhejiang province near Shanghai and essentially an extension of it, using two CPR-1000 reactors, designated M310+ by CNNC. Construction of the CNY 26 billion ($4.2 billion) project was by China Nuclear Power Engineering Co. (CNPE) and the reactor pressure vessels are supplied by China First Heavy Industries, as for Fuqing. In June 2008, Dongfang Electric Group announced a CNY 5 billion ($725 million) contract for Alstom Arabelle low-speed steam turbine generators for the Fuqing and Fangjiashan plants. Localisation is 80%. First criticality of unit 1 was in October 2014 with grid connection in November and commercial operation in December 2014 and was grid connected in mid-January 2015. Unit 2 started up in December 2014, with grid connection in mid-January 2015 and commercial operation in February. The project is 72% owned by CNNC, with the remainder held by Zhejiang Provincial Energy Group Co Ltd. The two units bring the Qinshan total effectively to nine, with 6540 MWe.


At the end of 2006, the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor design was selected for Sanmen in Zhejiang province (and for Yangjiang in Guangdong province, with the latter site changed to Haiyang). Contracts with Westinghouse and Shaw for two units were signed in July 2007. Site works under CNNC commenced in February 2008 and an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract was signed in March 2009 between SNPTC + CNNC and China Nuclear Engineering & Construction Group (CNEC) for both units, which will be overseen by Westinghouse and Shaw (now CB&I). Other stakeholders are Zhejiang Provincial Energy Group Co Ltd, CPI Nuclear Power Co Ltd, and China Huadian Corp.

Construction on Sanmen 1 – the world's first AP1000 unit – officially commenced on 19 April 2009. The pressure vessel, from Doosan, was installed in September 2011. The reactor was expected to begin operation in December 2014 with unit 2 less than a year later. Construction on unit 2 commenced in mid-December 2009. The pressure vessel and steam generators for unit 2 are being made in China. MHI supplied the turbine generators for both units. CNEA in 2013 said the cost would be about $2610/kW. In March 2014 NNSA said that start-up would be delayed to December 2015 due to design changes and problems with the US-supplied main coolant pumps which created further delay. Following successful tests, the modified pumps are being shipped from Curtis-Wright to site in October 2015, and SNPTC predicts commercial operation in September 2016. See section on Embarking upon Generation III plants above.

Another six units are envisaged for the Sanmen site.


Shangdong Nuclear Power Company (a subsidiary of CPI) signed contracts with Westinghouse and Shaw for two AP1000 units in July 2007. First concrete was poured in September 2009 for unit 1 and June 2010 for unit 2. The 5000 cubic metre base mat of each was placed in a single pouring of less than 48 hours. The pressure vessel and steam generators for unit 2 are being made in China. MHI supplied the turbine generators for both units. These units were expected to commence operation in December 2014 and March 2015, but in March 2014 NNSA said that start-up would be delayed into 2015 due to design changes and component problems. However, problems with the US-supplied main coolant pumps then delayed operation to 2016 or 2017. See section on Embarking upon Generation III plants above.

The site will eventually have six or eight units, and in March 2009, the NDRC approved preliminary works for units 3&4 at the CPI site. In February 2014 the MEP approved construction start on these, which are expected to cost CNY 31.4 billion ($5.1 billion). The NNSA gave approval for phase 2 in December 2015.

Haiyang will be a CPI training base for AP1000 staff, along with a set-up at Yantai.


The first two EPRs planned for Taishan in Guangdong province form part of an €8 billion contract signed by Areva and the China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) in November 2007. The Taishan project (sometimes referred to as Yaogu) is owned by the Guangdong Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company Limited (TNPC), a joint venture between EDF (30%) and CGN. First concrete was poured in December 2009, and unit 1 is expected to be commissioned early in 2017, with unit 2 later in the year. In announcing the delayed start, CGN said that “The systematic integration and performance testing of nuclear power generating units of third generation nuclear technology have yet to be verified, as no such nuclear power generating unit has been put into commercial operation across the world.” Accordingly, Taishan Nuclear would proceed with caution. . Areva is sourcing the main components for both units from Japan and China and expects net capacity to be 1660 MWe each. See section on Embarking upon Generation III plants above.

Site works are reported to be proceeding for units 3&4.

Shandong Shidaowan HTR-PM

A demonstration high-temperature gas-cooled reactor plant, with twin reactor modules driving a single 210 MWe steam turbine, was initially approved in November 2005, to be built at Shidaowan (Shidao Bay) in Weihai city, Shandong province, by Huaneng Shandong Shidaowan Nuclear Power Company Ltd (HSNPC). It will be part of the Rongcheng Nuclear Power Industrial Park project. The HSNPC joint venture is led by the China Huaneng Group Co – the country's largest generating utility but hitherto without nuclear capacity, and still without NNSA authority to build nuclear power plants itself. However this project is classified as R&D. Huaneng Power International, with 47.5% equity, is investing CNY 5 billion in the project, which received environmental clearance in March 2008. An important 20% stake in the project is held by Tsinghua University INET, reflecting its innovative technology, and 32.5% is held by CNEC, which is promoting commercial HTR versions. With site work complete, following NDRC approval construction started in mid-2011. Commercial operation is expected in 2017. (Information on CGNPC and Tsinghua websites) NB though involving twin reactors this is shown as a single reactor unit in WNA Tables.

The EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) contract was let in October 2008, and involves Shanghai Electric Co and Harbin Power Equipment Co. A simulator contract signed in May 2010 was between HSNPC, Chinergy and CGNPC Simulator Co. In November 2010 Huaneng Group signed an agreement with US-based Duke Energy to train nuclear plant staff.

After three years of negotiation, in March 2011 a contract was signed with SGL Group in Germany for supply of 500,000 machined graphite spheres for HTR-PM fuel by the end of 2013. A new HTR fuel production plant is being set up at Baotou.

This will be the demonstration plant for a larger commercial plant at Ruijin, Jianxi province. (See below, also Research and development section in page on China's Nuclear Fuel Cycle.)

Shidaowan/Rongcheng PWRs

In November 2007, China Huaneng Group (CHNG) signed an agreement with CGN for the Huaneng Nuclear Power Development Co Ltd to build four CPR-1000 reactors at Shidaowan, Rongcheng, Weihi city, in Shandong province in an $8 billion deal. A letter of intent regarding the first two was signed in 2008. The project then became focused on the CAP1400, with SNPTC as the lead partner and two CAP1400 reactors as phase 1.

The State Nuclear Power Demonstration Plant Company (SNPDP) is a 55-45% joint venture company set up in December 2009 by SNPTC and China Huaneng Group (CHNG) to have overall responsibility for building and operating the first CAP1400 reactors and subsequent CAP1700 reactors (see Reactor technology section above), two CAP1400s being envisaged as demonstration units at Shidaowan. SNPTC will be in charge of building these.

The Environment Impact Assessment Report (EIAR), the Site Safety Assessment Report (SSAR) and construction application were submitted to Ministry of Environment Protection and NNSA in March 2012, and NNSA approval of both was expected in mid-2014. Site works for the first two CAP1400 units totaling 3.24 GWe were complete by April 2014. First concrete for unit 1 was expected in April 2015, with 56-month construction giving operation in December 2019. Unit 2 first concrete was due in August 2015 and operation in 2020.

In June 2014 the Ministry of Environment Protection was seeking comment on SNPTC plans for CAP1400 units 3&4, expected to cost CNY 42.3 billion. However, Huaneng, which owns the Rongcheng Industrial Park site, is keen to build four AP1000 units as phase 2, and this is now the plan. The eventual capacity of Shidaowan over 20 years is expected to be very large.


This is a CPI project about 30 km from Fangchenggang in Guangxi province, with two AP1000 reactors in stage 1 and two more in stage 2. It is reported to be delayed by local opposition, and may be an alternative to stage 3 of Fangchenggang.


This is a CGN project in Huangbu town, Huidong county, Huizhou city on Red Bay close to Daya Bay, with two AP1000 reactors in its first stage and four more to follow. Initial investment by CGN and Huizhou city was estimated at CNY 80 billion in 2011. The project company is China Guangdong Huizhou Nuclear Power Co. The project passed its initial feasibility assessment by the provincial Development and Reform Commission in 2011. Some site works have been undertaken.

Tianwan Phases II, III & IV

Jiangsu Nuclear Power Corporation (JNPC) was established in 1997 to construct and operate the Tianwan nuclear plant. Ownership is CNNC 50%, CPI 30% and Jiangsu Guoxin Asset Management Group 20%.

In October 2006, a preliminary agreement for two further 1060 MWe AES-91 VVER reactors as the second construction phase at Tianwan in Lianyungang city of Jiangsu province was signed with Russia's Atomstroyexport. Preliminary approval from NDRC was received in August 2009, and the project was then expected to cost $3.8 billion. Protracted discussion on pricing for the Russian components of the plant delayed the project. Eventually, a contract for the engineering design of units 3&4 was signed in September 2010 between Jiangsu Nuclear Power Corporation and Atomstroyexport, and the general contract came into force in August 2011 with protocol signed by China Atomic Energy Authority and Rosatom. Final approval from NDRC was received in January 2011. The EPC contract with CNNC's China Nuclear Engineering & Construction Group (CNEC) was signed in October 2011. A civil engineering contract was let to China Nuclear Industry Huaxing Construction Company (HXCC) in May 2012, and to China Nuclear Industry 23 Construction Co for component installation in July. Both are CNEC subsidiaries. An intergovernmental protocol was signed in December 2012, with first concrete poured that month. In August 2013 the China Development Bank signed a loan agreement with Jiangsu Nuclear Power Co. for CNY 16 billion for phase II.

Atomstroyexport is providing 30% of the V-428M phase II units for €1.3 billion, including nuclear island equipment (reactor, steam generators, pressurisers, primary piping. etc.) and some related equipment. It is not acting as the principal contractor, though it insists on retaining intellectual property rights. Jiangsu Nuclear Power Corporation is responsible for about 70% of the project, namely, the civil work, turbine island with equipment and related infrastructure on the site. Iskorskiye Zavody, part of OMZ, is supplying the major components covered by the Russian €1.3 billion part of the phase II plant. This includes two reactor pressure vessels with internals and upper units. Delivery was to be completed in 2014, but the pressure vessel for unit 4 was delivered in February 2016. (The company already took part in making the major equipment for Tianwan 1&2, including reactor pressure vessels.) ZiO-Podolsk is making the steam generators – the third arrived on site in March 2015. The turbine generator sets are from Dongfang Electric, using Alstom Arabelle low-speed technology. Areva I&C systems are being used.

First concrete for unit 3 was poured in December 2012, and that for unit 4 in September 2013. Commercial operation is due in 2018 and 2019.

There was some uncertainty about the technology for phase III, units 5&6. Due to urgency in meeting power demands, it appeared likely that units 5&6 (phase III) might be built ahead of 3&4, as CPR-1000 units, based on those at Fangjiashan. This technology prospect appeared to lapse with post-Fukushima sidelining of the design. But when finally approved by the State Council in December 2015 it was confirmed that they would be the last of the M-310 based units, ACPR1000. However, the CNNC website in October 2014 had them as 1000 MWe units, consistent with the 2012 decision to build as CPR-1000. An EPC contract between Jiangsu and CNPE was signed in February 2011, making CNPE the project manager. CNPE signed a contract for both nuclear islands in June 2016 with China Nuclear Industry Huaxing Construction Co (HXCC). Dongfang Electric has a contract to supply turbine generators using Alstom Arabelle low-speed technology. Construction of unit 5 started in December 2015, and of unit 6 in September 2016.

Phase IV is less ambiguous. In December 2012 Russian sources reported discussions with CNNC regarding phase IV of Tianwan (units 7&8), using VVER technology. In October 2013 China National Nuclear Power Co Ltd (CNNP) said that the technology might be VVER-1200/AES-2006 rather than VVER-1000/AES-91. Atomernergoproekt has quoted Leningrad’s V-491 reactors as reference units for later Tianwan units, now apparently just 7&8. In October 2014 Russia’s energy minister said that he expected Atomstroyexport to supply units 7&8 at Tianwan and in November 2016 a new cooperation agreement with Russia was announced including Tianwan 7&8.


CNNC's Changjiang nuclear power plant on Hainan Island started construction in April 2010 for operation in 2015. It will eventually comprise four 650 MWe PWR units based on those at Qinshan Phase II. Total cost of the first pair of CNP-600 units is put at about CNY 20 billion ($3.15 billion). Unit 1 criticality was in October 2015, grid connection in November and commercial operation in December. Unit 2 was grid connected in June 2016 and started commercial operation in August.

Units 3&4, probably ACP600, will be built as the second phase of construction from 2018. Huaneng Power International (HPI), part of China Huaneng Group (CHNG), holds a 49% share in Hainan Nuclear Power Co Ltd. More than 80% of the plant's equipment is made in China. (Some reports suggest Hualong One for units 3&4, but this is speculative.)


CNNC's Xudabao (or Xudapu) nuclear power station is in Xingcheng City, Huludao (Hulu island), in coastal Liaoning province. The CNY 110 billion (US$18 billion) Xudabao project will comprise six AP1000 or CAP1000 reactors, with units 1&2 in the first phase. Site preparation was under way in November 2010, and NNSA granted site approval for two units in April 2014. Final approval was reported in September 2014, and again in December 2015 by the NNSA. Construction start is awaited.

CNNC's Liaoning Nuclear Power Company Ltd owns the plant, 70% CNNC with Datang International Power Generation Co holding 20% equity, and State Development and Investment Corporation (SDIC) 10%. The general contractor is China Nuclear Power Engineering Company Ltd (CNPE), a subsidiary of CNNC. In October 2010, the Northeast Electric Power Design Institute (NEPDI), Changchun, Jilin, a subsidiary of China Power Engineering Consulting Corporation (CPECC), signed a survey and engineering contract for the plant. When Taohuajiang plant was deferred, the main reactor parts were transferred to Xudabao. Manufacture of the steel containment was launched in July 2013 by Shandong Nuclear Power Equipment Manufacturing Co Ltd (SNPEMC). In October 2016 an EPC contract for construction of unit 1 & 2 nuclear islands was signed with China Nuclear Industry 22 Construction Co, a CNECC subsidiary.


CGN Lufeng Nuclear Power Corporation is making efforts to start on the first two units (of six) of the Lufeng (Shanwei) plant in the Tianwei district in eastern Guangdong. Wintime Energy Co Ltd will have at least a 5% stake, with CGN Power. An EPC contract was signed with SNERDI in September 2013, environmental approval was in June 2014, and NDRC approval for two AP1000 units was reported in September 2014. The NNSA gave approval in December 2015. It will be a CNPEC project. It was in the 12th Five-Year Plan, site work is underway and construction start in 2016 was expected. The AP1000 plant equipment manufactured for Xianning is being deployed there for units 1&2, and it will be CGN Power's first AP1000 plant. Investment to June 2014 was CNY 37.4 million. Commercial operation was expected in 2020-21.

Putian & Zhangzhou-Gulei

China Guodian's first nuclear power venture, with CNNC holding 51% of CNNC New Energy Corporation, will initially have two small modular ACP100 reactors, at Putian on the coast in Fujian province, near Xiamen, as a demonstration plant. These are integral PWRs, with passive cooling for decay heat removal. This will be the CNY 5 billion ($788 million) phase 1 of a larger Zhangzhou project. CNNC said that the units could provide electricity, heat and desalination. Construction time is expected to be 36-40 months, starting 2015. It involves a joint venture of three companies for the pilot plant: CNNC as owner and operator, the Nuclear Power Institute of China as the reactor designer and China Nuclear Engineering Group being responsible for plant construction.

A second proposal is for two ACP100 units on the other side of the peninsula, at Zhangzhou-Gulei, but though approved by SASAC in November 2011, it is stalled due to opposition from local government. CNNC New Energy Corporation (CNNC & Guodian) is seeking alternative sites.


The larger project will be undertaken by CNNC Guodian Zhangzhou Energy Co. Ltd., and will comprise four Hualong One reactors as phase I and two more as phase II. CNNC says it has received preliminary approval, and in May 2014 local government gave approval, with phase 1 costing CNY 54.4 billion. The NNSA gave approval in December 2015, for AP1000 units and confirmed site selection in October 2011, again for four AP1000 units as phase 1. However, CNNC decided to use the Hualong One design here. The company was established in November 2011, by CNNC or China Nuclear Power International Inc (51%) and China Guodian Corporation (49%). The proposal was submitted to NDRC in August 2010. Construction start is due in May 2017.

Hongshiding (Rushan)

In November 2006, an agreement was signed by CNNC to proceed with the first two units of the Hongshiding nuclear plant at Hongshiding in Weihai or Rushan city, Shandong province, costing $ 3.2 billion, with construction to begin in 2009 and first power in 2015. However, it has been deferred. Six units now likely to be Hualong 1, 1150 MWe each, are envisaged at the site, with Shandong Hongshiding Nuclear Power Co. Ltd as developer.


CGN has several plans in Northern China, and among other possible projects it has applied for several reactors at Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, very close to CNNC’s Tianwan plant. A proposal has been submitted to the NRDC. However, the further development of Tianwan makes it unlikely, and if implemented, it will not proceed before about 2025. It is not included in the above Table or any statistics.


This is to be developed in Shanghai's Songjiang district by CGN with China GD Power Development Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Guodian, and in connection with a framework cooperation agreement with the State Grid Corporation of China. It is not expected to be approved before about 2020.


This will be the first nuclear plant in Hebei province, 200 km from Beijing, Hebei being the last coastal province to host a nuclear plant. CNNC CHD Hebei Nuclear Power Corporation (CCHNPC) is owned 51% by CNNP, 39% by Huadian Power International Corporation and 10% by Hebei Construction & Investment Group and will be responsible for the construction, operation and management of the plant. The environmental impact report has been submitted to the Ministry of Environment, and the project construction of AP1000 reactors is planned for June 2016 for unit 1 and ten months later for unit 2. Planned construction time is 54 months. The site has scope for 7500 MWe of plant. The project investment is estimated at CNY 120 billion, with CNY 45 billion for this first phase.


In October 2009, an agreement was signed by CIAE and CNEIC (a CNNC subsidiary responsible for technology imports) with Russia's Atomstroyexport to start pre-project and design works for a commercial nuclear power plant with two BN-800 fast neutron reactors (referred to as Chinese Demonstration Fast Reactors) at Sanming city, an inland part of Fujian province. A site survey and preliminary feasibility study had been undertaken in 2007-08. CNNC in April 2010 established Sanming Nuclear Power Co Ltd as a joint venture company with the Fujian Investment & Development Corp and local government, and initiated a full feasibility study.

Construction was due to start in 2013, once an intergovernmental agreement was in place, expected in 2012. The local content was targeted at 70%, and the first unit was to be in operation in 2018, with the second following about a year later. A second phase, with units 3&4, was due to commence in 2015. The plant would be similar to the OKBM Afrikantov BN-800 design built in Russia at Beloyarsk 4, which started up in 2014, though this is actually an experimental reactor rather than commercial type. Negotiations on price earlier delayed the project and NIAEP-Atomstroyexport then said it expected the first contracts to be in place at the end of 2014. However, there is no indication of BN-800 plans proceeding. The project is superseded by the CFR600 fast reactor, with the first commercial demonstration units expected to be on line by 2025.


In 2015 China National Nuclear Power Company Limited Xiapu was set up in Fujian, with 55% CNNC, 20% Fujian Funeng Co Ltd, 10% Huaneng Nuclear Power Development Corp, 10% China Yangtze Power Co Ltd and 5% Ningde State-owned Assets Investment Management Co. The plan is to build the first 600 MWe Terrapower so-called travelling wave fast reactor here, the TWR-P.

Inland nuclear power plants

These have been delayed significantly from the dates for the larger units planned before mid-2011. This was announced as being due to concerns regarding possible pollution of rivers. Taohuajiang, Xianning and Pengze are all in the 12th five-year plan to start construction, but the premiere's announcement in October 2012 deferred approvals for inland plants until after 2015. The delay has involved an assertion of central government control over eager provincial governments with their own economic development agendas. NEA approvals are likely to start for these in 2016.

The State Council in 2008 prioritised three projects, and subsequently these remain as likely first construction starts for 13th Five-Year Plan from 2016: Taohuajiang in Hunan, Pengze in Jiangxi, and Dafan in Hubei. However, no approval for inland plant construction has been forthcoming.

In June 2015 CNNC signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Sichuan provincial government to promote “large-scale commercial nuclear power reactors and renewable energy generation, nuclear power equipment manufacturing, nuclear technology and innovation platform construction.” Sichuan had earlier promoted Nanchun as a power plant site, and CGN is involved with this – see below.

In September 2015 it was reported that 31 inland sites had cleared preliminary approval by NDRC, and awaited State Council approval.


CNNC's Taohuajiang nuclear power plant on the Zi River in Taojiang county,Yiyang city, near Yueyang in inland Hunan province is likely to be China's first inland nuclear power plant. It was expected to start construction in September 2010, and some CNY 3 billion of site works are complete, but construction is delayed to 2015 or 2016. (It is also referred to as the Taohua [peach blossom] River project.) CNNC set up Hunan Taohuajiang Nuclear Power Co Ltd. to build and operate the plant. Initially this was to be 4x1000 MWe at a total cost of CNY 34 billion, but it is now to be a four-unit CAP1000 project costing over CNY 70 billion. The main contractor is China Nuclear Industry 23rd Construction Co Ltd; China Erzhong is contracted to supply the main pressure vessel forgings, and Dongfang Electric Corp will supply other major components. Germany's GEA Group is to construct the cooling tower for unit 1: a natural draft unit some 200 metres high and 160 m in diameter, with 15,000 square metres drenching area. Subsequent towers will have increasing local content.

The project was approved by the NDRC in November 2005, and in 2008 the project was approved for preliminary construction. Site works have been undertaken to the extent of CNY 3.8 billion. The design by SNERDI under SNPTC and SNPDRI was submitted to the NNSA in February 2010 for licensing. A general framework agreement for construction was signed by CNNC with CNPE Corporation as EPC contractor in December 2010. The first unit was originally expected in commercial operation in 2015, and the fourth in 2018. However, after all the inland projects were deferred the reactor components were transferred to Xudapu/Xudabao, and the site workforce was laid off. Construction start is now expected in 2016.


In August 2008, CGN and Hubei Energy Group Ltd set up the Hubei Nuclear Power Company as a joint venture and announced plans to build a nuclear power plant at Dafan in Xianning city of the inland Hubei province. Site works for this plant (four AP1000 units) have been undertaken to the extent of CNY 3.4 billion. Construction of the first two units was expected to start in 2011, but is delayed to 2016. The reactor pressure vessel for the first unit is contracted to China First Heavy Industries, and the first two 209 metre high cooling towers to Belgium's Hamon Thermal. The cost of four AP1000 reactors is put at CNY 60 billion ($8.8 billion). This would have been CGN's first AP1000 plant, but the equipment has been reassigned to Lufeng. A further phase is estimated to cost CNY 45 billion.

The large pre-assembled modules that will make up the bulk of the new AP1000s are to come from a new inland facility owned by new firm Hubei Nuclear Power Equipment Company.

Reports of a Songzi plant may refer to later stages of Dafan, though possible projects in Yangxin county have been mentioned.

The Hubei Nuclear Power Co is also reported to be planning a four-unit AP1000 plant at Guangshui city in the northeast of the province.


CPI's Pengze Nuclear Power Project in Jiangxi province is to have four AP1000 reactors costing CNY 60 billion ($8.8 billion). The site has been prepared for the first two units, and safety and environmental approvals were obtained in May 2009. CPI signed the EPC contract framework for phase 1 (units 1 & 2) in August 2009, the engineering project contract was reported to be between CPI Jiangxi Nuclear Power Co Ltd and CPIC. The equipment procurement was reported to be between CPIC and China Power Complete Equipment. CPI aimed to start construction in 2010, for 2013 start-up, but construction has been delayed, evidently to 2016. Site works amount to CNY 3.4 billion.

The project is inland in Juijiang city, across the Yangtze River from Wangjiang in Anhui province. The cooling towers are being designed by Belgium's Hamon Thermal for the State Nuclear Electric Power Planning Design and Research Institute (SNPDRI). The project has been opposed by Wangjiang in neighbouring Anhui province, which has plans for several nuclear plants iteself, including Wuhu (Fanchang) and Jiyang (Chizhou), with Anqing Congyang and Xuancheng along the Yangtze River also mentioned.


The Wuhu nuclear plant on the Yangtze River in the Bamaoshan area, Fanchang county, of Anhui province was planned to have four 1000 MWe CPR-1000 units, but is now designated for AP1000s to be constructed in two phases. CGN's proposal for two units of phase 1 has been submitted, some preparatory work has been undertaken and the Anhui Wuhu Nuclear Power Co has been set up, with 51% CGN ownership. The environmental impact statement was released for public comment in January 2010.


CNNC New Energy Corp, the joint venture of CNNC (51%) and Guodian Corp, has also signed a preliminary agreement for small modular reactors with Ganzhou city in Jiangxi province.


The Xiaomoshan nuclear power plant on the Yangtze River in Huarong county, Yueyang city, Hunan province (inland), is a priority project for CPI. It will eventually have six AP1000 reactors and be built by Hunan Nuclear Power Company Ltd in two phases. NDRC approval was given in 2006 but as of mid-2010 NNSA approval was awaited. Site preparation has been undertaken and first concrete was expected late in 2010. The cost is put at CNY 70 billion ($10.25 billion) for the first four units, funded by SNPTC and Wuling Electric Power Development Co. (a CPI subsidiary). The Heimifeng pumped storage plant will be associated with it.


In August 2009, CNNC (51%) signed a joint venture agreement with Jiangxi Ganneng Co. Ltd and Jiangxi Ganyue Expressway Co Ltd (49% between them) setting up Jiangxi Nuclear Power Co to build the Wanan Yanjiashan nuclear power project at Ji'an in the Jiangxi province. CNNC contracted a feasibility study of Yanjiashan nuclear power program in July 2010. Pre-project work was reported as under way in November 2010. (This is also reported as a CPI project.)


CGN's Shaoguan nuclear plant will comprise four AP1000 reactors and is expected to cost RMB 50 billion. It will be located in Baitu Town of Qujiang District in Shaoguan City, and will be the first inland nuclear power project in Guangdong. The Shaoguan Nuclear Power Co was established in April 2010.


CNNC's Hubei Zhongxiang nuclear power project is at Zhongxiang city in central Hubei, with China Datang. The 5000 MWe plant is undergoing a detailed feasibility study, but further details are unknown.


China Huadian plans the Cangzhou Haixing nuclear plant with six AP1000 reactors in Cangzhou city, Hebei province, 90 km inland from Tianjin. A CNY 100 billion investment is envisaged by the China Nuclear Huadian Hebei Nuclear Power Co. CNNP has 51% of the project company, Huadian Power International 39% and Jinto Energy Investment 10%. Initial investment in the two-unit first stage is CNY 8.443 billion ($1.36 billion). In April 2014 the NEA approved the project and ordered site selection to begin, focused on Xiaoshan and Bianzhuang.


CNNC New Energy Corp, the joint venture of CNNC (51%) and China Guodian Corp, has also signed an agreement for small modular reactors with Hengfeng county, Shangrao city in Jiangxi province.


In 2005, Sichuan province proposed Nanchun/Nanchong city east of Chengdu as a suitable site for a nuclear power plant and sought approval for it from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), which was not given, possibly because of seismic concerns. In March 2009, the provincial government signed an agreement with CGN to pursue the plan for a Nanchun nuclear power plant, involving the Nuclear Power Institute of China (NPIC), headquartered in Chengdu. Preliminary plans in 2008 were for a 4000-6000 MWe Sanba nuclear power plant on the Jialing River, at a cost of CNY 25 billion ($3.7 billion), but four Hulaong One units are now proposed. Majority ownership would be CGN.

Another Sichuan agreement for a nuclear power plant project has been signed between CNNC and Yibin city, south of Chengdu.


In December 2009, China Huadian Corp signed an agreement with Xiangtan city government in Hunan to undertake studies for a CNY 60 billion power plant comprising four 1250 MWe reactors. A refined proposal was expected in September 2010. This will apparently be the fourth nuclear project for China Huadian.


In October 2008 a project proposal was submitted to NDRC by CNNC and Zhejiang Energy Group Co Ltd for a nuclear power plant in Hangzhou, western Zhejiang province, with four AP1000 reactors, though earlier reports had four 1000 MWe units to be built in two phases from late 2010. The proposed site is Tuanshi, Longyou county. Pre-project work was reported as under way in November 2010.


CPI plans to spend CNY 85 billion to build the six-unit Jingyu or Chisong nuclear power plant in Jingyu county near Baishan, in southern Jilin province, with four AP1000 units to be in stage 1. The project is still in the preliminary feasibility stage, though site preparation is under way. Construction start was scheduled for 2012.


To be a six-unit CNNC or CPI plant in Henan province. Pre-project work was reported as under way in November 2010.


In July 2014 Guizhou province announced that it had contracted with CGN to build two 1250 MWe reactors at Tongren city for CNY 35 billion, by 2020. The site is being decided among Dejiang, Sinan and Yanhe counties. CGN has also agreed to build two 100 MWe nuclear units for CNY 3 billion, and a 1000 MWe wind farm for CNY 5 billion.

The following inland plants have been proposed but are not understood to be under active consideration in 2015:

Jiutai, Liangjiashan

These two nuclear power plants planned for northern Jilin province close to Changchun, were to be developed by CGN with China GD Power Development Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Guodian, and in connection with a framework cooperation agreement with the State Grid Corporation of China. They are not expected to be approved before about 2020.


Besides Wuhu, CNNC was reported as starting a feasibility study on another four-unit nuclear plant in the Anhui province, at Jiyang in Chizhou city, in December 2008.


In August 2009, CNNC signed an agreement with Hengyang city in Hunan province to build a nuclear power plant there or nearby. This is about 200km south of its Taohuajiang project at Yiyang city in Hunan. China Guodian Corporation, one of the country's largest power producers, is involved in the project.


In April 2015 CNEC announced that its proposal for two commercial 600 MWe HTR units at Ruijin city in Jiangxi province had passed an initial feasibility review. The design is based on work by Tsinghua university, taking shape as the Shidaowan HTR-PM of 210 MWe. Each 600 MWe unit will have three such modules. Ruijin Nuclear Engineering HTR NPP Co, Ltd was established in November 2014. CNEC and the provincial government will apply to NDRC for approval, and hope to start construction in 2017 for grid connection in 2021.

Further Information


a. According to the China Electricity Council, electricity consumption in 2010 increased 14.6% to 4190 billion kWh, corresponding with a 10% growth in gross domestic product (GDP). Some 3090 billion kWh of this was in industry. China's energy consumption per unit of GDP met a target reduction of 20% from 2005 levels by the end of 2010, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). The energy intensity targets for the following five years are expected to be about 17%. [Back]

b. The CNP series of reactors is also referred to as the CP series. [Back]

c. The ACP600 design appears to be an advanced version of the CNP-600. CNNC expects to complete development of the ACP600 design by 2013. [Back]


1. Cost of Pollution in China: Economic Estimates of Physical Damages, The World Bank, State Environmental Protection Administration, P. R. China (February 2007) [Back]

2. Platts Power in Asia, 21 January 2010; China's electricity consumption jumps 14.56% in 2010, Xinhua News Agency (17 January 2011) [Back]

3. International Energy Outlook 2009, Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, DOE/EIA-0484(2009), available at [Back]

4. Maintain nuclear perspective, China told, World Nuclear News (11 January 2011) [Back]

5. APWR and HTR are listed into the national program, CNNC news release (24 February 2006) [Back]

6. Criticality for fast reactor World Nuclear News (22 July 2010) [Back]

8. Unit 3 at Qinshan Phase II Nuclear Power Station begins operation People's Daily Online (22 October 2010) [Back]

General sources

China General Nuclear Power Group website (

China National Nuclear Corporation website (

Country Analysis Briefs: China, Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, available at

Uranium 2007: Resources, Production and Demand, OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and International Atomic Energy Agency, 2008 (ISBN: 9789264047662)

Nicobar Group website (

Dynabond PowerTech website (

Proceedings of the World Nuclear Association's China International Nuclear Symposium, held in Beijing on 23-25 November 2010, and that in Hong Kong in October 2011

Xu Yuming, May 2013, CNEA presentation: China’s nuclear power development in post-Fukushima era

An Analysis of China’s INDC, Fu Sha et al, China National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation (NCSC), 2 July 2015

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