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China plans to increase its nuclear capacity by 40% over 2021-2025

China has released its 14th Five-Year Plan covering the 2021-2025 period and announced its aim to increase its nuclear power capacity by 40% from 50 GW in 2020 to 70 GW in 2025. In addition, the country intends to get 20% of its total energy consumption from non-fossil fuels by 2025 (15.9% in 2020). China also intends to reduce its energy intensity (i.e. energy use per unit of GDP) by 13.5% and its carbon intensity (i.e. CO2 emissions per unit of GDP) by 18% over the 2021-2025 period. The country’s carbon intensity decreased by 18.8% over the 2015-2020 period, exceeding the targeted 18% reduction.

However, the 2021-2025 plan isn't expected to slow down the construction of new coal-fired power plants, since it only calls for "appropriately managing" the pace of coal-fired power capacity expansion and doesn't include any ban on new coal-fired power plant construction nor a target for curtailing coal-fired power plants capacity by 2025. China plans to continue to promote a "clean and efficient use of coal", accelerating trading mechanisms to reduce energy use and cut CO2 emissions and introducing more tax credits to support low-carbon development.

In September 2020, China presented plans to scale up its updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement, targeting a peak in CO2 emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060. The country’s CO2 emissions from energy combustion have almost quadrupled since 1990, reaching 9.7 GtCO2 in 2019.

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