China had 23.11 GW of nuclear power capacity under construction in late March, the country’s Nuclear Energy Association (NEA) said this week.

The 20 reactors are set to join the 34.72 GW already in operation, with 36 reactors online.

China has targeted an installed nuclear capacity of 50 GW, or 6 per cent of its total power generation, by 2020. As its operational and planned reactors now total almost 58 GW, this target should be met. However, the nation also aims to have a development pipeline of 30 GW in place by 2020.

According to NEA chair Zhang Hauzhu, half of the new reactors are third-generation, including the two 1.1 GW Westinghouse AP1000 reactors being built at the Sanmen plant in Zhejiang province. The first unit is set to come online this year after delays due to issues with its safety and design. 

Zhang, speaking this week at the NEA’s annual meeting in Beijing, was quoted as saying that in addition to the AP1000, Chinese-designed reactors such as the Hualong 1 and the CAP1400 “will be the main models of future development”, but “their maturity and efficiency need further testing during the construction process.”

China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) is helping to build Pakistan’s Chashma nuclear complex and China General Nuclear (CGN) is involved in the UK’s Hinkley Point C project. Also in the UK, a Hualong 1 reactor design is under review for potential construction at the Bradwell redevelopment site.  

China also has nuclear development agreements in place with countries in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.