BOFIT Viikkokatsaus / BOFIT Weekly Review 2021/25

China announced in late May that construction work on new reactor units was underway at the Tianwan and Xudapu nuclear power plants. Rosatom will supply two new VVER-1200 reactors to both plants. The supply agreement was finalised in June 2018 as part of a broader bilateral agreement on nuclear energy. Tianwan previously had four Rosatom-supplied VVER-1000 reactor units and two reactors of similar electrical capacity based on Chinese technology. The most recently completed reactor unit of this pair, Tianwan-6, went into commercial service at the beginning of this month.

Xudapu (Xudapao) is located in the Liaoning province in Northeast China. Tianwan is located in the Jiangsu province, about halfway between Shanghai and Beijing.

China has invested heavily in developing its own nuclear power capabilities. Experts now consider the country to have reached the R&D frontier in many areas of the nuclear industry. This sophistication is evidenced by the fact that Rosatom has only been contracted to supply its latest model reactor. The bulk of the construction at Tianwan and Xudapu sites is being performed by the Chinese. Russians delivered Tianwan’s first two units on a turnkey basis. During construction of the next two units, the Chinese were responsible for construction and installation works in cooperation with Rosatom.

The 50 nuclear reactors currently operating in China have a combined capacity of about 48.5 GW(e). Besides the reactor units provided by Rosatom, China is planning or already building over 30 power facilities based on domestic engineering. Despite the intense pace of construction, nuclear power accounts for less than 5 % of the country’s total electrical power production.

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