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Asia-Pacific keeps faith with nuclear power

18/5/2022

8 min read

Taishan nuclear power plant, Guangdong, China Photo: EDF Energy
Taishan nuclear power plant, Guangdong, China

Photo: EDF Energy

While Europe is abuzz with policy discussions about extending the life of existing nuclear power plants due to growing concerns around the need to wean the continent from its dependence on Russian fossil fuels, nuclear continues to enjoy support in the Asia-Pacific. Jens Kastner, Julian Ryall, Paul Cochrane and Keith Nuthall report.

China is a case in point. It had 53 nuclear power plants at the end of 2021, with a total generating capacity of about 55 GW. While that amounted to a little over 2% of the nation's total power generating capacity, this share is set to grow.

 

With the government keen to reduce CO2 emissions and worried by many provinces and regions suffering power shortages in 2H2021, China’s 14th five-year energy plan, released in March 2022, sets a target of 70 GW from nuclear by 2025, with an aspirational goal of 120 GW by 2030.

 

China’s nuclear power sector received zero approvals between 2016 and 2018 and the government did not restart the approval work for any new units until 2019. From that year to 2021 it approved 13 new units. 

 

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