Taishan nuclear power plant to be one of world's largest

17:43, December 22, 2009      

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Construction of the first-phase project of Taishan nuclear power plant started on the morning of December 21, indicating the beginning of the Taishan nuclear power plant's all-round construction after 20 years of planning. After the construction of all projects is completed, the Taishan nuclear power plant is expected to be one of the world's largest nuclear power projects.

The largest single-unit installed capacity in the world

The electricity generated from the two units of the first phase project to the power grid is capable of meeting the demand of a medium-sized city.

The Taishan nuclear power plant is located at Chixi Town, Taishan, Guangdong province. On December 21, Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company Ltd, which is responsible for fund raising, construction, operation and management of the first phase project, announced its establishment.

Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company Ltd was established by China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Corporation (CGNPC) and the Electricite de France. CGNPC holds a 70-percent stake and Electricite de France 30 percent. The total investment in the first phase project stood at 50.2 billion yuan and the registered capital reached 16.74 billion yuan. The joint venture is the largest Sino-French clean energy enterprise and is also the Chinese-foreign joint venture with the highest amount of investment in the current Chinese electricity field.

Currently, the all-around civil engineering construction of the nuclear island, conventional island and supporting facilities of the first phase project has started. Construction of the other projects is also progressing smoothly. The project has 11.85 million cubic meters of earth and stone. If trucks loaded with earth and stone for the project were lined up from Taishan, they would extend all the way to Beijing.

Four pressurized water reactor (PWR) nuclear power units are scheduled to be built for the project and it is planned to have a total of six electricity generating units in the future. Currently, the government has approved building two units in the first phase project. The two power generating units have the world's largest single-unit installed capacity of 1.75 million kW.

The project adopts the advanced third-generation European pressurized water reactor (EPR) technology, which was jointly designed and developed by France's Areva Group and Germany's Siemens Company. Double-layer safety shells and four security design programs are adopted to ensure a higher security level after taking severe accident prevention and mitigation measures into full consideration.

According to the project plans, the No. 1 unit will be put into operation and generate electricity to the power grid in December 2013 and the No. 2 unit is scheduled to be put into operation in October 2014. After the two units are built, they will generate about 26 billion kW/h of electricity to the power grid annually, which is capable of meeting the electricity demand of a medium-sized city and will yield an output of more than 12 billion yuan.

No carbon dioxide emissions

10.5 million tons of electric coal will be saved per year and therefore, 22.7 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced.

Nuclear power is a kind of internationally recognized clean energy. It enjoys quite a number of advantages including relatively stable cost, sufficient fuel and more predictable fuel prices compared to fossil fuels.

Taishan nuclear power station introduced that a 1-million-kW coal-fired power plant consumes about three million tons of coal per year and produces about 6.75 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. A nuclear power plant with the same capacity needs only about 30 tons of nuclear fuel per year and does not produce carbon dioxide emissions at the stage of nuclear power generation.

Nuclear power stations are usually located in regions with high power demands, so the length of transmission lines linking nuclear power stations and the power grid centers are relatively short and nuclear power transmission is in turn less exposed to transmission line faults.

After the two 1.75 million kW units in the first phase project are put into operation, they can reduce electric coal consumption by about 1,050 tons and greenhouse gas emissions by about 22.7 million tons. After the six units are put into service under the long-term plan of the Taishan nuclear power station project, the project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 68.4 million tons.

Is it safe to build the power station near urban clusters?

The probability of nuclear accidents for the third generation of EPR nuclear technology is one in 10 million

The Taishan Nuclear Power Plant is about 44 kilometers away from urban areas of Taishan, about 79 kilometers away from urban areas of Jiangmen, about 74 kilometers away from urban areas of Zhuhai and about 68 kilometers away from the Macau Special Administrative Region.

What about the safety of the nuclear power plant since it is so near the urban cluster in the Pearl River Delta region?

Experts from the Guangdong Taishan Nuclear Power Company said that the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant applies the world's most advanced third generation EPR nuclear technology. Radioactive substances will be processed through special facilities and "three waste treatment" methods, which lowers the probability of nuclear accidents, enhances the safety and reliability of nuclear power plant operations and reduces the level of its radioactive waste discharge below the national standard.

"The probability of nuclear accidents for the second generation EPR nuclear technology is one in a million, and the figure for the third generation EPR nuclear technology is as low as one in 10 million," say experts.

Taking the lead in becoming a major nuclear power generation province

One-fifth of Guangdong province's power generation will come from nuclear energy in 15 years, above the world's average level.

In Guangdong's arch-shaped coastal areas ranging from Dayawan, Ling'ao to Taishan and Yangjiang, the Dayawan Nuclear Power Plant and the first phase project of the Ling'ao Nuclear Power Plant have been put into operation, the Yangjiang Nuclear Power Plant is under construction and the comprehensive construction of the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant has started. These four major nuclear power plants will lay the foundation for Guangdong’s "special nuclear power zone."

According to Guangdong's nuclear power development plan, the entire province will have a total installed nuclear power generation capacity of 30,000 MW in 2020, of which 20,000 MW has been put into operation and 10,000 MW is under construction. One-fifth of Guangdong province's power generation will come from nuclear energy in 15 years, above the world’s average level. Guangdong province will take the lead in becoming a major nuclear power generation province.

"According to the plan, once the nuclear power stations under construction are put into operation by 2020, coal consumption will be reduced by 60 million tons per year," said Huang Longyun, deputy governor of Guangdong province and leader of the Guangdong Nuclear Power Development Leading Group.

By People's Daily Online
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