6.3.2 China

There are currently 8 nuclear power reactors operating in China and there are a further 3 units under construction (World Nuclear Association, 2003; Table 9.2). They contribute to about 1.4% of the country’s electricity requirement. These include Daya Bay 1 & 2 that are standard Framatome PWRs at 944 MWe, which have been in operation since 1994; more recently similar reactors Lingao 1 & 2 started up in 2002.

Qinshan 1 was the first locally designed and constructed plant. This was a medium-scale PWR. More recently Qinshan 2, scaled up from Qinshan 1 entered operation in 2002, to be followed by Qinshan 3, expected in 2003.

Qinshan 4 & 5 are heavy-water reactors based on CANDU 6 technology, each at 665 MWe. These came on stream in 2002 and 2003, respectively.

There are also 2 Russian designed VVER-91 1000 MWe units under construction, Tianwan 1 & 2, under an agreement between China and Russia. These units are scheduled to be in operation by 2004.

More reactors are planned under China’s Five-Year Plan (2001 -2005). These include a further two 900 MWe units at Lingao and up to six more 1000 MWe plants at Yangjiang.

Table 9.2. Nuclear power reactors in China under construction or ready to start building


Reactor type

Capacity (MWe)

Start of construction

Start up

Qinshan 3





Tianwan 1





Tianwan 2





There are further proposals for two 1000 MWe units for Haiyang, two 1000 MWe units at Hui An, and two 1000 MWe units at Sanmen.

The China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has reported that the Sanmen reactors will be PWRs, there are plans for further reactors but the technologies are yet to be decided. Possibilities include a Chinese standard 3 loop design developed in collaboration with Westinghouse or the Framatome CNP-1000 design.

Uranium resources in China are expected to meet the nuclear programme requirements in the short term. Fuel fabrication and enrichment facilities also exist. However, to meet the Country’s objective of being self sufficient in nuclear fuel supply, some additional capacity will be required.

Regarding spent fuel treatment and reprocessing, a closed fuel cycle strategy is the declared objective. Construction of a centralised spent fuel storage facility is in progress at LanZhou Nuclear Fuel Complex. There is also a pilot reprocessing plant under construction to be followed up by a full-scale commercial plant.

China is also studying the feasibility of high-temperature pebble reactors to supply process heat for heavy oil recovery or coal gasification. A 10 MWt plant (HTR-10) was commissioned in 2000. China has also a 65 MWt fast neutron reactor under construction near Beijing, scheduled to achieve criticality by 2005.

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