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China-Made Nuclear Reactor Goes On Line
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When the No. 2 reactor at the second phase of the Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant began generating power early Thursday morning, Li Yongjiang, general manager of the Nuclear Power Qinshan Joint Venture Co. Ltd., called it a milestone.

The new reactor marks a substantial increase in the proportion of localized technology and design in China's construction of new nuclear power generators.

It indicates China is competent to design, construct, manage and operate a nuclear plant with a capacity of 600,000 kilowatt-hours for commercial uses, said Li.

China imported three of its four existing power plants from France, Canada and Russia. The second phase of the Qinshan plant in east China's Zhejiang Province is the only generating facility designed in China.

Construction of the second phase at Qinshan began on June 2, 1996, with an investment of 14.8 billion yuan (US$1.8 billion) for two reactors.

The No. 1 reactor went on line on April 15, 2002, and has so far maintained a safe and satisfactory operating record, generating 9.1 billion kilowatts.

Against a backdrop of severe electricity shortages in Zhejiang, Qinshan Joint Venture is planning to construct two more reactors, Li said.

If the government endorses the plan, the second phase at Qinshan will be able to provide the area in east China--one of the biggest electricity consumers in the country--with 16 billion kilowatt-hours during its 40-year lifespan.

Li expressed optimism in winning the government's go-ahead, because the country's large-scale electricity shortages over the past several years have caused the government to give green lights for the first time in six years to new nuclear plant construction.

Construction of four new 1,000-megawatt pressurized-water nuclear power facilities in Sanmen, also in Zhejiang Province, and Lingdong, in south China's Guangdong Province, is scheduled to start next year.

Under a long-term government plan, China's nuclear power generating capacity is expected to be four times its current level and reach 36 million kilowatts by 2020.

The four new nuclear power generators will increase the proportion of nuclear power in the country's total power generation system from the present 1.3 percent to more than 4 percent.

(China Daily March 11, 2004)

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