China plans 110 nuclear power plants by 2030

 (Joe Klamar, AFP)
(Joe Klamar, AFP)

Beijing - China is planning a massive expansion of nuclear energy, and aims to have 110 nuclear power plants in operation by 2030, state media reported on Friday.

Nuclear power generation from reactors both under construction and in operation will reach 88 gigawatts by the end of 2020, the state-run China Daily said, citing new energy legislation.

The Chinese government is currently considering a draft Five-Year Plan for the power industry, covering the years 2016-20.

China has 30 nuclear reactors in operation and another 21 under construction. According to the draft plan, China will allocate $578bn to set up new nuclear plants, aiming to derive 10% its energy from nuclear power by 2030.

With the world's third-largest known coal reserves, nearly 70% of China's energy still comes from coal. The population of 1.3 billion burns as much coal as the rest of the world combined, helping China become the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.

The expansion of nuclear power is an important part of the government's efforts to curb dependence on coal and reduce CO2 emissions.

Coal burning is also a major source of the notorious smog that often blankets major Chinese cities.

In March, China restarted construction of its first new nuclear reactor since Japan's Fukushima disaster in 2011.

China had suspended new plant approvals and all construction to conduct a safety review after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station suffered a triple meltdown when it was hit by an earthquake and tsunami.

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