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China grants operating licence for Unit 4 of the Fangchenggang nuclear plant

The Chinese National Nuclear Safety Administration has granted an operating licence for the 1 GW Unit 4 of the Fangchenggang nuclear power plant, located in the Guangxi Autonomous Region (southern China). The unit, which is expected to be put into operation in the first half of 2024, is the second of two China General Nuclear-designed Hualong One (HPR-1000) reactors at the site, alongside Unit 3.

The Fangchenggang nuclear plant is planned to house six reactors. The first phase comprises two CPR-1000 units which were put into commercial operation in 2016. First concrete was poured for Unit 3 in 2015, while that for unit 4 was poured 2016. Both units (39% owned by Guangxi Investment Group and 61% by CGN) were expected to start operations in 2019 and 2020 respectively, but their start-ups were postponed until 2022. In January 2022, the start-up of Fangchenggang 3 and 4 had been put back again due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unit 3 achieved first criticality in December 2022 and was synchronised to the grid in January 2023. It entered commercial operation in March 2023. Hot functional testing of Unit 4 began in September 2023.

At the end of 2022, China’s nuclear capacity reached 55.5 GW (2% of the installed capacity) and its nuclear power generation reached 418 TWh (5%). China targets 200 GW of nuclear capacity by 2035. The country currently has over 31 GW of nuclear capacity under construction and over 173 GW under development.

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