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China starts 1st nuclear reactor in ethnic minority region

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China has commissioned its first nuclear power plant in one of its ethnic autonomous regions as it rapidly expands the country’s nuclear reactor network to cut down coal burning and CO2 emissions.

The first reactor of the Fangchenggang Nuclear Power Plant in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region can supply 24 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a day, catering to the needs of a medium-sized city, said Gong Guangchen, the plant’s spokesperson.

Based on the domestically developed CPR-1000, the reactor began generating power in October 2015. The plant’s second reactor is expected to begin operating in the second half of 2016, Gong was quoted as saying by the state-run the Global Times.

The energy produced by the reactor will also cut coal burning by 4.82 million tonnes and CO2 emissions by about 11.9 million tonnes every year. It is also expected to create 64,000 new jobs annually and contribute 8 billion yuan ($ 1.2 billion) to the local GDP.

China has suspended approval of new nuclear programs after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 and construction projects did not resume until 2014.

China currently has operating capacity of 25.5 million kilowatts and aims to raise installed nuclear power to 58 million kilowatts by 2020 in order to reduce pollution from coal-burning generators and deliver on its promise to reduce carbon emissions, the report said.


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