Beijing, Dec 8: China has announced plans to construct its first inland nuclear plant in the central province of Hubei.
The cost of the first two phases of the project, with an installed capacity of 4 million kilowatt is estimated at 50 billion Yuan (7.3 billion dollars). The third phase could cost 45 billion Yuan, the official news agency Xinhua reports.
The construction of the plant is expected to start after an environmental assessment report is approved.
The China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (CGNPG) and the Hubei provincial government agreed in March to jointly build the plant. CGNPG and Hubei Energy Group established a joint venture, known as Hubei Nuclear Power Ltd. Co., in June to develop nuclear power in the province.
Local authorities have relocated residents from the land designated for the plant in Xianning City, and completed road construction for the project, an official from the city's planning commission said.
China has 11 nuclear plants at six sites, all on the east coast, with a combined installed capacity of 9.07 million kilowatt. The capacity of the CGNPG project is equivalent to 43.5 percent of the total.
Faced with an energy crunch resulting from fast economic growth, China plans to develop more nuclear power. The country plans to have 40 million kilowatt of installed nuclear capacity by 2020, which would be four percent of projected energy supply, or double the current level.