China: Overview and Significant Developments of Nuclear Energy in China

We want to thank Mr. SONG Daiyong for this great overview of Nuclear Energy in China.

Current Status and Future Plan

Due to the rapid economic development and increasing concerns about air quality, climate change and fossil fuel shortages, nuclear power has been looked into as an alternative to coal power in China. For many years, China has sought out a road of peaceful use of nuclear energy and remarkable achievement has been made. The basic strategy for nuclear energy development in China is “Thermal-neutron Reactor, Fast Breeding Reactor and Controlled Nuclear Fusion Reactor”. Besides the pressurized water reactor, the high-temperature gas-cooled reactor-pebble bed module (HTR-PM) is also constructed in China. By mid-century fast breeding reactors are seen as available technology for commercial nuclear power generation.

As of 2013, in mainland China, there are 17 nuclear power units in operation, with installed capacity of 14.69 GW, and 28 units under construction with installed capacity of 30.57 GW, which accounts for 41% of the total number construction globally. China’s National Development and Reform Commission has recently indicated the intention to raise the percentage of electricity produced by nuclear power from current 2% to around 6% by 2020, and this will require the current installed capacity to be increased to 88 GW, including 58 GW in operation and 30 GW under construction.

Nuclear Safety

“Safety First” is the basic principle of nuclear energy development in China, and different measures have been implemented to ensure safe and reliable operation of nuclear facilities:

  • Strengthen nuclear safety and emergency response infrastructure building.
  • Improve legal and regulatory system and regulatory mechanisms.
  • Enhance human resource development of nuclear safety and nuclear emergency management.
  • Increase support to personnel training and technical research and development.

Up to now, all operating nuclear power plants in China have kept a sound safety record. The new Nuclear Safety Plan states that beyond 2016 all new projects will be build in line with the world highest safety requirements, and must meet the Generation III safety standards.

Complete Fuel Cycle Industry

To build an advanced nuclear fuel cycle is one of the major objectives of China’s nuclear industry. Efforts have been made to improve the production capacity, technical standards and innovation capability on all elements of the nuclear fuel cycle, so as to secure long-term and stable supply of nuclear fuel.

Self-reliance Innovation

China is positioned to become a main reactor exporter and aiming at the maximize self-reliance on nuclear reactor technology design and manufacturing through innovation and international cooperation. Large advanced pressurized water reactors such as the CAP1400, ACP1000, ACPR1000+ and small modular reactor such as ACP100 will be the mainstream self-reliance technology in the near future.
Young Generation Network in China

China has just officially joined the International Youth Nuclear Congress (IYNC) in August, 2013. A few young professionals from Chinese Nuclear Society (CNS), institutes, companies, universities has been selected as members of CNS Youth Working Committee to establish the Young Generation Network in China (CNS-YGN). More information can be found on IYNC China Weibo (

International Cooperation

China has cooperated with more than 40 countries and relevant international organizations, and fruitful cooperation has been carried out in the fields of nuclear energy, nuclear technology application, nuclear safety and emergency response, nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear security, etc.

Guided by the international framework, relative trade laws, the principle of quality, service, efficiency, prestige and mutual benefit, China is ready and willing to establish more harmonious cooperation with new and old friends all over the world, to share the practices and experience of nuclear energy development, and to strive for a more brilliant future of nuclear energy.