An artist's impression of the Yangjiang nuclear power plant. [Photo: yjnp.com.cn]
Construction began Tuesday on a major nuclear power plant expected to generate 45 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.
The Yangjiang nuclear power plant in Dongping Town, Yangjiang City, is being built by China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group with an investment of 70 billion yuan (10.1 billion U.S. dollars).
The plant will have six 1,000-megawatt units with the first unit to begin operations in 2013. All the units will be built by 2017.
The plant will save 16 million tons of coal and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the most prominent greenhouse gas, by 36 million tons, according to Zhang Guobao, vice minister of the National Development and Reform Commission.
Zhang said the the plant would save energy and help protect the environment.
China plans to develop more nuclear power plants in response to an energy crunch resulting from fast economic growth. The country plans to have 40 million kw of installed nuclear capacity by 2020, which would be 4 percent of projected energy supply, or double the current level.
China is also striving to rely more on domestic demand to offset the impact of the global economic recession as external demand for its goods falls. The measures included the reduced interest rates, an investment of 4 trillion yuan within two years and 10 other major measures aiming to expand domestic demand.
On Nov. 21, the country began the construction of a nuclear power station in the eastern Fujian Province at an investment of nearly 100 billion yuan.