BEIJING, March 14 (Reuters) - China’s total nuclear power generation capacity is expected to reach 120-150 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, requiring the construction of an average of eight to 10 new units a year over the next 15 years, leading nuclear developer CGN Power said on Monday.
“We believe the following 15 years will be the period of opportunities for the development of China’s nuclear power,” the firm, the listed unit of the state-owned China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN), said in its annual results report.
China has not yet set an official nuclear capacity target for 2030, but it aims to put 58 GW into operation by the end of 2020, up from 28.3 GW at the end of last year.
Sun Qin, head of CGN’s main rival, the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), told Reuters last week that China could fall short on the target, with only 53 GW scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020.
CGN itself has 10 reactors under construction and 14 already in operation, according to the annual report.
China’s ambitious nuclear programme has been subject to repeated delays, with the approval process suspended for three years from 2011 as the state conducted a root-and-branch review of its safety procedures and inspected all existing nuclear sites in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster.
The decision to move to safer but mostly untested “third-generation” nuclear reactor technology has also meant that several key projects have been repeatedly postponed as a result of design flaws.
CGN said on Monday its first European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) designed by France’s Areva had been postponed from the first half of 2016 to the first half of next year. Problems with the technology have also delayed EPR projects in France and Finland.
CGN said it had “proactively adjusted the construction plan” for its EPR project, located in the city of Taishan in Guangdong province, and its progress with the technology had been faster than anywhere else in the world.
Rival reactor builder CNNC said last week its maiden AP1000 project in Zhejiang province, designed by U.S.-based Westinghouse, would finally be completed in June next year, three and a half years later than originally scheduled.
Reporting by David Stanway; editing by Susan Thomas