China approves two new nuclear projects.

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The government of China recently approved the construction of two nuclear power projects at a cost of US$10.24 billion. The plants are Hainan Changjiang phase 2 and Zhejiang San’ao phase 1. In a recent report, the Changjiang units will be built by a joint venture between China National Nuclear Corporation and China Huaneng Group and are expected to go live in 2025. The Hainan Changjiang nuclear power plant phase 2 project has been scheduled to operate from 2026. The government noted that the construction of nuclear power projects “an important measure to expand effective investment, enhance energy support and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,”

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The Zhejiang plant will be the first nuclear power project involving private capital. Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group’s investment subsidiary will take a 2% stake in the plant. Last year, China launched three new nuclear power plants in the provinces of Shandong, Fujian, and Guangdong, which marked the end of a moratorium on new projects. China’s nuclear association said that six to eight nuclear reactors a year will be built in the country between 2020 and 2025. These will raise the country’s total capacity to 70GW, up 43.5% from May-end, according to the official China Daily in July. The association also said that the total installed nuclear capacity in China is expected to stand at 52GW by the end of this year.

The approvals for the new units follow a slowdown in conventional large-scale nuclear power project approvals in recent years. Eight new reactors were approved in 2015, but only the construction of a demonstration fast reactor was approved between 2016 and 2018. Three projects were approved in early 2019. Construction permits for the Changjiang and San’ao projects must now be issued by the National Nuclear Safety Administration before construction can begin.