China Huaneng Group, the country's largest power producer, yesterday signed deals with suppliers to equip its first nuclear power plant in Shandong province.
Makers of the equipment used for the plant include Tsinghua University, China Nuclear Engineering Group Co, Shanghai Electric and Harbin Power Equipment Corp.
The Huaneng nuclear plant, located at Shidao Bay in the city of Rongcheng, is expected to use high-temperature, gas-cooled technology. It is said to be the first nuclear power plant in China using the technology.
Construction of the plant, which is designed for a capacity of 200 mW in the first phase, will start in September next year. It is scheduled to start operations in 2013.
Compared with conventional technology, nuclear reactors using the new technology are safer, more efficient and more simply designed, analysts have said.
China, the United States and South Africa are considered to be leaders in the area.
"The project, which can be seen as a milestone in China's nuclear industry, will further boost the technological level of the sector," said Sun Qin, deputy head of the National Energy Administration.
As the world's fastest growing economy and the second largest energy consumer, China in 2005 had planned to increase its nuclear power capacity to 40 gW by 2020, when it would account for 4 percent of the nation's total power capacity.
But due to rapid development in the sector, the country this year readjusted its earlier goal, by increasing nuclear power provision to 5 percent of total power capacity in 2020.
China currently has a total of 11 nuclear reactors in operation, with a combined installed capacity of 9,080 mW, according to the China Electricity Council. The country has developed three nuclear power bases - Qinshan in Zhejiang province, Daya Bay in Guangdong province and Tianwan in Jiangsu province.
The country's major power companies have all attached increasing importance to the development of nuclear energy. Other domestic power companies such as Guodian and China Power Investment are planning or building nuclear projects.
Besides nuclear power, they are also paying more attention to clean energy. For example, Huaneng will accelerate the development of hydropower, wind power, solar power and biomass power. By 2010, installed power capacity using such clean energy will increase to 13,000 mW, sources with the company have said.
Huaneng is also currently developing wind power plants in Hainan, Guangdong, Jilin and Shandong provinces, as well as in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. At present, the company's wind power operations and planned projects have a combined capacity of more than 1,300 mW.