China Growing Fastest in Nuclear Power Production

China now has 38 nuclear power reactors in operation and 19 others under construction, IAEA reports.

China is now the fastest expanding nuclear power producer in the world, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced last week. As some countries are introducing nuclear power for the first time and others are expanding theirs, this will be one of the topics on the agenda of the International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century, a meeting taking place Oct. 30–Nov. 1 in Abu Dhabi.

China now has 38 nuclear power reactors in operation and 19 others under construction.

"We have a well-established, complete system in place, not only from the point of view of design, but also manufacturing, quality assurance, safety and construction," said Zheng Mingguang, president of the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute. "China is a big country. We have higher energy demand than other countries, but also more room for nuclear power."

According to the IAEA article, Russia has seven nuclear power reactors under construction, India has six, and the Republic of Korea has three. Currently, the countries with most reactors in operation are the United States, France, Japan, and China, which is building most of its reactors along its economically developed southeast coast as it seeks to reduce its use of coal and oil and limit CO₂ emissions while maintaining its economic growth.

The 19 Chinese reactors under construction include advanced models. "The nuclear industry is watching China put the first AP1000 reactors in Sanmen and Hiayang in operation," said Nesimi Kilic, nuclear engineer at IAEA. (Sanmen-1 is expected to be finished by 2018.)

The article says China's energy regulator, the National Energy Administration, is expected to set the country's nuclear capacity target to 120-150 gigawatts by 2030, up from about 38 in 2017.