China builds new nuclear power stations as Japan cancels five restarts

March 13th, 2015, Published in Articles: Energize


Reports from say that the number of possible nuclear reactor restarts in Japan is to drop, as utility companies opt out of bringing five reactors into compliance with new safety standards. The cost of refurbishing the plants to comply with new codes, which were put into place after the Fukushima Daiichi power plant disaster in 2011, is behind the closure of these reactors.

The five aging reactors to be decommissioned are Units 1 and 2 at the Mihama nuclear power plant in the Fukui Prefecture, Unit 1 at the Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture, Unit 1 at the Shimane nuclear power plant in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture and Unit 1 at the Tsuruga nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture. Japan has 50 nuclear reactors which, prior to the earthquake in March 2011, accounted for about 30% of the country’s electricity generation.

In the meantime, the state-owned China General Nuclear Power Corporation has announced that it is to build two new reactors at the Hongyanhe nuclear power station in the northeastern province of Liaoning. This comes after a four-year hiatus from nuclear plant approvals, including a two-year moratorium which was prompted by the earthquake which led to the crippling of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in 2011.

The official moratorium on plant approvals in China was lifted in 2012 after safety standards were revised. Construction continues at Hongyanhe, where Unit 3 is expected to go online this year and Unit 4 is still being built. Units 1 and 2 have been operational since 2013 and 2014, respectively. Currently, only 2% of China’s electricity is generated by nuclear power, which is produced at 23 nuclear reactors at eight different facilities with a combined capacity of more than 20 GWe, according to the World Nuclear Association. Twenty-six additional reactors are under construction so that the country’s target of generating 6% of its electricity from nuclear power by 2020 can be met.


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