The central Chinese province of Hubei is preparing for the construction of the country's first inland nuclear plant, a local planning official said on Sunday.
Local authorities have relocated residents from the land designated for the plant in Xianning City, and completed road construction for the project, the official from the city's planning commission said.
The cost of the first two phases of the project, with an installed capacity of 4 million kw, is estimated at 50 billion yuan (US$7.3 billion). The third phase could cost 45 billion yuan.
Construction will start as soon as the environmental assessment report is approved, the official added.
China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (CGNPG) and the Hubei provincial government agreed in March to jointly build the plant. CGNPG and Hubei Energy Group established a joint venture, known as Hubei Nuclear Power Ltd. Co., in June to develop nuclear power in the province.
China has 11 nuclear plants at six sites, all on the east coast, with a combined installed capacity of 9.07 million kw. The capacity of the CGNPG project is equivalent to 43.5 percent of the total.
Faced with an energy crunch resulting from fast economic growth, China plans to develop more nuclear power. 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.
(Xinhua News Agency December 8, 2008)