, China

China’s nuclear capacity to grow 7% annually up to 2035

The country has 54GW operational units and 22GW in the pipeline.

The nuclear capacity of China could expand by 7% annually in the next 15 years, S&P Global projected, as the country continues to provide support for nuclear power.

In its 14th five-year plan, China targeted to have 70 gigawatts (GW) of operational units by 2025. S&P Global expected this to be “roughly met” as China already has 54GW operational units and 22GW more under construction.

In particular, S&P Global Commodity Insights projected that China’s operational capacity will grow to 67GW by 2025, 105GW by 2030, and 145GW by 2035. This is equivalent to a 7% annual capacity growth over the next 15 years.

“This growth will occur in the coastal provinces, where generators are already located. The state has put on hold inland development due to river pollution concerns and insufficient water resources,” the report read in part.

“Coastal provinces can only locally resort to nuclear power or offshore wind for nongas-based decarbonization given resource constraints.”

S&P Global added that nuclear becomes an option as a major low-cost base-load solution in pursuit of decarbonisation and energy security, considering the small contribution of offshore wind.

“China's nuclear-energy policy balances longer-term technology advancement against more imminent imperatives for emissions-cutting,” S&P also reported.

“We believe the country may reserve some sites for its Generation (Gen) IV reactors, which will provide better safety and environmental benefits from a closed fuel cycle (i.e., recycling of spent fuel).”

Meanwhile, Gen III reactors, which come with “long-run disposal burdens of high-radioactivity spent fuel,” are expected to be productive at least until the 2040s.

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