China plans to start building two new nuclear plants next year as its tries to meet surging demands for power in its booming economy, a news report said Tuesday. China is aggressively expanding its use of nuclear power to reduce reliance on imported oil and counter the environmental costs of burning China's abundant but dirty coal. The newest nuclear power plants are planned for the northeastern port of Dalian and the city of Haiyang in coastal Shandong province in the east, the China Daily newspaper said.
The US$2.8 billion (Ђ2.4 billion) facility near Dalian will be the first in China's northeast, the newspaper said, citing an unidentified official of the state-owned China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group. The report didn't give financial details of the Haiyang facility.
China has four nuclear power plants in operation and plans to open 31 more by 2020.
The operating plants are in China's fastest-growing areas in the south and east _ two in Guangdong province near Hong Kong and two near the business center of Shanghai. Suppliers of nuclear equipment are looking to China to sustain their industry at a time when few other countries are planning new nuclear plants.
Each of the two new Chinese facilities will contain two reactors, the China Daily said. It said plans call for a total of up to 10 reactors in the two locations. The Dalian facility is scheduled to start generating power in 2011, the report said. It said 80 percent of the plant's equipment is to be Chinese-made, reports the AP. I.L.