China has commissioned the last out of six units of the country’s largest NPP
Китай АЭС 2
China General Nuclear Power Corporation has completed test operation of the last out of six units at the Hongyanghe nuclear power plant (NPP) whose capacity has reached a national record level of 6.71 GW. The design power generation volume of the plant, which is the first NPP in China's northeast, has increased up to 48 TWh, which is more than last year's total generation in New Zealand (44 TWh, according to BP's World Energy Survey).

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The NPP first two units (1,119 MW each) were connected to the common power grid in 2013 as say the data of the IAEA Power Reactor Information System (PRIS). The third and the fourth units of identical capacity were put into operation in 2015 and 2016, respectively, and the fifth one was commissioned in 2021. In total, 55 nuclear power units with a total capacity of 52.2 GW (13% of the global volume) are in operation in the country at present, while another 16 reactors with a capacity of 16.2 GW are under construction. Yet, despite commissioning of the nuclear reactors and a growing share of nuclear power in the nation’s generation mix (from 2.1% in 2013 to 5% in 2021 according to PRIS), China continues to face energy shortage risks. Last fall, amid a coal shortage, five units of the Hongyanghe NPP operated at full capacity to supply consumers in the Liaoning province where over 70% of the installed capacity of all power plants are coal-fired generators.

China’s 2015-2022 investment in nuclear power rose from $10 billion to $13 billion a year, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). However, its global investment share in the industry declined from 33% to 26% over the same period, which is due to nuclear power renaissance in the European countries where global investment share in the construction of nuclear power plants increased from 25% to 31% (from $7 billion to $15 billion). The demand for low-carbon generation drives not only commissioning of new units of already operating large power plants (such as the Olkiluoto NPP third unit connected to the power grid in March 2022) but also the projects of small modular reactors (SMR). For example, Romania can commission six SMRs by the end of the 2020s, with a total capacity of 462 MW, which were developed by the American NuScale Power.


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