With 24 units under construction, China leads the world in building nuclear power plants

It intends to increase nuclear power generation capacity sevenfold by 2060.
Ameya Paleja
Stock image of nuclear power plants
Stock image of nuclear power plants


China is taking the lead when it comes to building nuclear power units, the China Nuclear Energy Association (CNEA) said in a report On Wednesday. It currently has 24 nuclear power plants under construction with a combined capacity of 26.81 million kilowatts.

Nuclear energy has the world in splits. While countries like Germany have been shutting down nuclear power plants even in the face of a shortage of oil and gas supply, China is banking on the technology to provide a low-carbon transformation to its net-zero goals, making it a critical component of its energy structure in the near future.

How China Plans to increase its nuclear power supply

Nuclear power has been a significant contributor to China's energy supply. With 54 commercial nuclear power plants already in operation, the country's generative capacity stands at 56.82 million kWs, the third largest in the world.

Since 2022, China has approved 10 new nuclear power units out of which three have been put into commercial operation while construction has begun in six new units. The country now has a total of 24 units under construction, which will put it in the leading position in terms of installed capacity by the end of the decade.

By 2035, the capacity is expected to account for 10 percent of the country's energy demands, which the chairman of the China General Nuclear Power Group Co., Yang Changli is hopeful will increase sevenfold by 2060. From the current five percent supply to the nation's electric demand, Changli expects nuclear power will account for 18 percent of the country's power generation by 2060.

With 24 units under construction, China leads the world in building nuclear power plants
Stock image of nuclear power plant

Additionally, China is also building nuclear capacity in partner countries under its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). According to a Global Times report, China is helping Argentina build the Atucha III, a 1200-megawatt reactor, the country's fourth nuclear power plant.

The technology for the nuclear reactor comes from the China National Nuclear Co (CNNC) and uses a third-generation pressurized water reactor, a homegrown technology. The country has also been building the capacity to manufacture key equipment and supply complete sets of nuclear power equipment for pressurized reactors with a capacity of one million kW, a CGTN report said.

While the U.S. has raised safety concerns about the equipment in the past, China has claimed that its operational nuclear power plants in the country have performed well on the World Nuclear Power Operators Association's comprehensive index, scoring the maximum marks possible. China now accounts for 50 percent of the reactors in the world that boast of this achievement.

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board