China has unveiled its 13th five-year plan on its nuclear power industry. A number of projects will be up and running in the coming few years. One of them is a high temperature gas-cooled reactor, or HTGR, that is under construction in east China's Shandong Province. This 4th generation nuclear power plant is expected to generate power in 2018.
The world's first 200,000-kilowatt HTGR nuclear power plant, using gas, instead of water to cool the reactor.
"The HTGR is expected to be connected to the grid and generate power in 2018. China's HTGR is now at the forefront of the world," Wang Yiren, vice chairman of China Atomic Energy Authority, said.
The HTGR's power-generating efficiency is 25 percent higher than that of the nuclear power units that are currently in operation in China.
And it will greatly cut costs as modular construction can shorten the construction period.
"Almost 40 percent of nuclear power units under construction around the world are in China. Moreover, China's existing nuclear power units are all in safe and stable operation. I believe through our efforts in the 13th Five-Year Period, we can become the world's leader in nuclear power," Wang said.
One vision is to build nuclear power plants in the inland, rather than coastal areas where water can be used to cool down the plant.
China - with 35 nuclear power units in operation - ranks fourth in the world; however, it has not built any nuclear power plants inland.
"There are over 400 nuclear power plants around the world, with more than half of them inland and less than half in coastal areas. As all these nuclear power plants are in safe operation, the problem of whether they can operate safely inland or in coastal areas, I think, doesn’t exist," Wang said.
The nuclear expert is confident about the technology being used.
"The technology is the same for both coastal and inland nuclear power plants. Those that meet the safety requirements in coastal areas can also do so inland. So long as the plants operate strictly according to regulations and standards and strengthen security measures, their safety can be guaranteed," Wang said.