Nuclear plant starts providing heating in Liaoning

With a planned heating area of 242,400 square metres, it is expected to replace the 12 coal-fired small boilers in Northeast China.


The Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Station. [Photo/China General Nuclear Power Corporation]

November 2, 2022

BEIJING – Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Plant in Liaoning province was put into operation on Tuesday to provide heating for locals, said its operator China General Nuclear Power Corp.

This is Northeast China’s first commercial nuclear heating project. With a planned heating area of 242,400 square meters, it is expected to replace the 12 coal-fired small boilers in Hongyanhe town, said the company.

The project will reduce coal consumption by 5,726 metric tons annually, and cut emissions of carbon dioxide by 14,000 tons, dust by 209 tons, sulfur dioxide by 60 tons and nitrogen oxide by 85 tons, it said.

Located in Wafangdian, Dalian, Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Plant is also the first nuclear power facility and the largest electric energy investment project in Northeast China.

Prompted by the goal of peaking carbon emissions and achieving carbon neutrality, China has been steadily developing its nuclear power capacity, said Wang Shoujun, president of the Chinese Nuclear Society, during the 23rd Pacific Basin Nuclear Conference held on Tuesday in Beijing.

By the end of June, China had 53 nuclear facilities — or units — in operation and 23 under construction, which ranks tops worldwide, Wang said.

It is expected that China will further expand its installed nuclear power capacity in the coming five years and is likely to approve six to eight new nuclear facilities each year with the amount of power generated by nuclear power to increase, he added.

China has approved 10 nuclear facilities so far this year and nuclear power is expected to account for 10 percent of China’s total power generation by 2035, he added.

According to CGN, the first phase of the Hongyanhe plant saw four generating units put into use by 2016, and the second phase consisting of two more generating units became fully operational and ready for commercial operation in June. This has substantially contributed to stabilizing northeastern China’s regional power supply.

The six units can generate 48 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, accounting for approximately 20 percent of Liaoning’s total electricity consumption, it said.

An analyst said China’s plans to expand nuclear heating illustrate its intentions to decarbonize its energy-intensive heating sector.

Nuclear power delivers nonstop output and requires a stable consumption load. “As the northeastern grid consumes a lower level of power, nuclear service for district heating is absolutely an effective idea for addressing both the load issue and the decarbonization mandate from China’s central government,” said Wei Hanyang, a power market analyst at BloombergNEF.

“China seeks a gradual coal exit in the heating sector, but natural gas as a replacement still produces carbon emissions. Zero-carbon heating is thus a major pursuit around the world, while the Hongyanhe plant has started to explore it and pioneer the global trend.”

In addition to Hongyanhe, the third phase of the Haiyang nuclear energy heating project in Shandong province currently under construction is expected to start providing clean heating by 2023, said Liu Yongde, chief engineer of State Power Investment Corp.

Nuclear heating was used by more than 200,000 residents in Haiyang for 143 days during the previous winter, and the company plans to expand the heating area to the entire Jiaodong peninsula, Liu said.

Nuclear energy and new energy will contribute to clean and low-carbon high-quality development and the application of clean energy will go beyond electricity to more areas including heating, cooling, hydrogen as well as seawater desalination, he said.

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