Capacity planning targets keep going up

China nuclear 2The latest dizzying numbers for China's planned construction of new nuclear reactors, released in early November by the country's National Development & Reform Commission, soared to 114 GWe by 2020.

The new target represents a significant increase from a prior target of 70 GWe issued last May by Zhang Guobao, head of China’s National Energy Administration.  Chinese officials later scaled back their estimate of the revised target from 114 GWe down to 80 GWe.

Reuters reported on November 23 that the China Nuclear Energy Association, headed by Zhao Chenkun, said the 70 GWe target is too low. China has a reported 23 reactors under construction and another 140 on drawing boards in various stages of readiness to proceed.

That said, some analysts ask the relevant question of how will China be able to execute these ambitious plans. The older target of 40 GWe by 2020 could involve at least 30 new reactors.  Whether the nation can achieve a goal of building three times that number is an open question.

To achieve the new targets, the country will have to become self-sufficient in reactor design, fuel cycle, and workforce development, construction as well as reprocessing of spent fuel and activities related to waste management. The country will also need to make significant investments in rail and road transportation infrastructure for reactors located inland away from coastal seaport serviced sites.

Read the complete details of the elements of China’s massive nuclear new build exclusively at the ANS Nuclear Cafe now online.