China's largest nuclear heating project starts operations in Haiyang, a county-level city of Yantai, Shandong Province, on Nov 15, 2022. [Photo/CCTV]
The third phase of China's first heating project fueled by nuclear energy, covering multiple prefecture-level cities, was put into operation in Haiyang, East China's Shandong Province, over the weekend, as part of the government's efforts to increase green energy supplies for heating during this winter and next spring.
The project, with a planned installed capacity of 900 megawatts, is part of No 1 Warm-U-Clear, the first commercial nuclear energy heating project in China, its operator State Power Investment Corp said.
The green energy will be provided by the Haiyang nuclear power plant, which has a heating system connected to two traditional nuclear units.
It provides green heating to Shandong province's Haiyang and Rushan through a transport pipe, it said.
The total heating area of the project will reach 12.5 million square meters this winter, which will keep about 400,000 people warm, it said.
Provinces across the nation are stepping up energy supplies to meet rising energy demand for heating during the winter.
The project will provide much-needed experience to further apply clean energy heating nationwide, said Lin Boqiang, head of the China Institute for Studies in Energy Policy at Xiamen University.
The role of nuclear power as a clean energy source for heating is expanding in the country. In the long run, this will not only reduce heating costs but also significantly improve the operational efficiency of nuclear power plants, Lin said.
The efforts in nuclear heating illustrate China's ambitions at de-carbonizing its energy-intensive heating sector, he said.
State Power Investment Corp has been stepping up efforts to expand its nuclear power-based heating projects to more areas across the country in recent years.
The company started its first phase of nuclear heating in 2019 in Shandong province, which has provided 700,000 sq m of carbon-free heating, followed by the second phase that covered 5 million sq m in 2021, it said.
Since the operation of the first phase of No 1 Warm-U-Clear in 2019, it has replaced the consumption of 390,000 metric tons of standard coal while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 720,000 tons, SPIC said.
The first pilot nuclear heating project in southern China, which is built upon residual thermal power of China National Nuclear Corp's Qinshan nuclear power station in Zhejiang province, is also currently under operation in Haiyan county, in East China's Zhejiang Province.