With 46 operational reactors and 42.8GW of installed power, China is the third largest producer of nuclear power in the world.


Image: First construction phase of Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant, Photo courtesy of ChNPP/Wikipedia.

NS Energy profiles the top nuclear power plants in China based on their installed capacities

Yangjiang Nuclear Power Station-5GW

Located in Guangdong province, China, the Yangjiang nuclear power plant (NPP) will comprise a total of six reactors, each with 1,000MW capacity, of which five have been already commissioned.

The first phase of development involved construction and commissioning of four nuclear units, while the fifth unit was added in the second phase and the sixth unit is yet to be commissioned.

Approval for the development of all the six units was received in 2004, with the construction on the first unit beginning in December 2008. The units 1, 2, and 3 were commissioned in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively, while the fourth unit entered service in 2017 and the fifth in 2018.

Owned by Guandong Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company, the Yangjiang nuclear power plant is operated by Yangjiang Nuclear Power Company.

In November 2016, Hong Kong-based power company CLP Holdings emerged as a successful bidder to a 17% stake in Yangjiang Nuclear Power Company from China General Nuclear (CGN). Currently, CGN Group and its subsidiaries own a 66% stake in the company, while the remaining 17% is held by Guangdong YuDian Group, according to a report published by the World Nuclear Association.

nuclear power plants in China
Image: The Yangjiang nuclear power plant in China. Photo: courtesy of China General Nuclear Power Corporation.

Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Plant- 4.2GW

Located in Donggang Town, Wafangdian, in the Liaoning Province of China, the Hongyanhe nuclear power plant consists of four power generating units, each with a 1,061MW capacity.

Construction on the first unit of the Hongyanhe nuclear power plant was started in August 2007. The first unit was commissioned in June 2013, while all the four units were commissioned by 2016. All the four units are installed with CPR-1000 reactors.

The plant is owned by Liaoning Hongyanhe Nuclear Power (LHNP), a joint venture of China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Company (CGNPC, 45%), China Power Investment Corporation (CPIC, 45%), and Dalian Construction Investment Group (10%).

Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant – 4.2GW

Located in Haiyan County, Zhejiang province, the Qinshan nuclear power plant was the first NPP constructed in mainland China.

Owned by China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), the plant started power generation from its first unit in 1992. The reactor units at the plant were built in three phases.

The first phase involved a single 300MW pressurised water reactor with an operational life of 30 years. The first unit is also the country’s first indigenously-designed and constructed nuclear power plant. The unit was, however, shut down in October 2007 to perform a major upgrade that increased its capacity to 350MW.

The second unit entered commercial operations in May 2004, while the third and fourth units were inaugurated in April 2006.

Image: Turbine hall of Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant Phase 2 (China, June 2004). Photo courtesy of Petr Pavlicek/IAEA/Wikipedia.

Tianwan Nuclear Power Station – 4.1GW

Located in Lianyungang prefecture, Jiangsu province, the Tianwan nuclear power station is operated by CNNC.

Built along the Yellow Sea coast, approximately 30km east of Lianyungang proper, the nuclear power station comprises four operating units, of which two units are under construction and the other two are planned expected to be built in the future.

The first phase of the nuclear power plant saw the commissioning of two V-428 VVER reactors with a net capacity of 990MW each, constructed under a partnership between China and Russia with a reported investment of $3.2bn (£2.52bn). The two units began commercial operations in 2007.

The second phase of the Tianwan Nuclear Power Station saw the construction of units 3 and 4, which are VVER-1000/V-428M reactors with a net capacity of 1.06GW each. Unit 3 was brought into commercial operations in February 2018, followed by unit 4 in December 2018.

Units 5 and 6, which will be ACPR-1000 reactors with a capacity of 1GW each, are currently under construction and will increase the plant’s capacity to 6.1GW, upon completion.

Ningde Nuclear Power Plant – 4GW

Located in the Fujian province, the $7.6bn (£6bn) Ningde nuclear power plant has four operating units, with a combined net capacity of 4.072GW. Two more units, each of 1.15GW gross capacity, are planned to be added.

The plant is owned by Ningde Nuclear Power (NDNP), which was established in 2006. NDNP is owned by China General Nuclear Power Group, China Datang Corporation, and Fujian Energy Group.

All the four operating units of the Ningde Nuclear Power Plant are CPR-1000 reactors.

Unit 1 entered commercial operations in April 2013, followed by unit 2 in May 2014. Unit 3 and 4 were commissioned in June 2015 and July 2016, respectively.

The new units 5 and 6 will be Hualong One (HPR1000) Chinese pressurized water nuclear reactors developed by CGN. An EPC agreement was signed in early 2019 to advance the project.