China’s State Council has approved the construction of four new nuclear reactors. Two Hualong One reactors will be built at both the Taipingling and Jinqimen sites.

The decision was confirmed at the meeting of the Standing Committee of the State Council, chaired by Chinese Premier Li Qiang. China General Nuclear runs the Taipingling nuclear power plant in Guangdong province, where units 3 and 4 will be built. Units 1 and 2 will be constructed at the China National Nuclear Corporation-operated Jinqimen nuclear power plant in Zhejiang province.

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Construction of the first and second units at the Taipingling plant began in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Unit 1 is scheduled to commence production in 2025. The plant will eventually host six reactors producing around 50 terawatt-hours of power.

Jinqimen also plans to host six units, but the plant is still in the pre-construction stage. In June, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment accepted the environmental impact assessment documents for units 1 and 2, approving construction to go ahead. Unit 1 is scheduled to commence operations by the end of 2028.

China is turning to nuclear power to try to meet its carbon emissions goals. At the beginning of December, the nation announced it had started commercial operations at the fourth-generation Shidaowan plant in the northern Shandong province. The reactor is the first of its kind in the world and has a modular design to use fuel more efficiently.

Modular plants are smaller than traditional nuclear power plants, producing less than 300MW. Owing to their versatile size, they can be constructed off-site and operate in remote locations to power previously hard-to-abate heavy industry sectors.

China currently has 55 operable reactors that produce 3% of its electricity. The country aims to produce 10% of its electricity from nuclear power by 2035 and 18% by 2060, but in September 2023, it had not met its 2020 target to install 58GW of capacity.