China is to build its largest nuclear power plant to date in Yangjiang, a city in the southern province of Guangdong. It will consist of six generating units with an installed capacity of 6 GW.

The project went into its planning stages in the mid-1990s followed by a feasibility review launched in 1996 by the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group. Local demand is high – according to Hu Wenquan, general manager of CGNPG, electricity consumption in Guangdong province is steadily increasing, in fact in the first seven months this year, it grew by 18.1 % more than the same period last year. However, says Hu Wenquan, the power capacity of the province cannot meet the surge in demand.

The government of Yangjiang city is to set aside 48 ha (slightly less than one sq km) of land for the project, for which evacuation work is scheduled to begin at end-2003 or early next year. Gross investment is estmated to be US$8 billion, and the plant is expected to begin production within 15 to 20 years. The units will be built in several stages and a target date of 2006 has been set for first concrete of the first units. Companies from the United States, Japan and France, as well as Chinese companies, have expressed interest in bidding for the plant and have been asked to provide site plans for their various proposed designs so that allowances for different models can be made during the excavation work.

Yangjiang is considered an ideal construction site. It is embraced by mountains on three sides, which gives it a good microclimate, and can draw its coolant water from the the South China Sea. And it is considered that industries already established in the city can provide the plant with the necessary secondary services.