China tops world in nuclear power capacity and new unit construction

China’s nuclear power units Hualong One in Fuqing, Fujian Province, China. /CFP

China’s nuclear power units Hualong One in Fuqing, Fujian Province, China. /CFP

China is building 26 nuclear power units with a total capacity of 30.3 million kilowatts, the most in the world, according to an industrial report on Monday.

China approved five new nuclear power projects and started construction of five units in 2023, said the report titled China Nuclear Energy Development Report 2024 released by the China Nuclear Energy Association (CNEA). There are 55 commercial nuclear power units currently in operation in China.

China’s nuclear power generation continues to increase steadily, reaching about 433.4 billion kWh in 2023, ranking second globally. Its nuclear power output last year was equivalent to reducing the consumption of standard coal by more than 130 million tonnes.

CGTN’s infographic by Zhao Hong, Yu Peng

CGTN’s infographic by Zhao Hong, Yu Peng

The country aims to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

Deemed as a new quality productive force, nuclear power displays tremendous potential for the nation’s economic growth and increasing energy demand. Du Xiangwan, a member of Chinese Academy of Engineering, stressed at a science outreach event about nuclear power last week in Beijing that the country needs to double down on nuclear power advances as its annual output only accounted for 5 percent of the nation’s power output, compared with the 10 percent global average.

He added that not only coastal regions but also inland areas with water resources should carry out nuclear energy development.