China has launched its first locally produced nuclear reactor, the Hualong One. The reactor, which was connected to the national electricity grid on Friday, can produce some 10 billion kWh of electricity each year and reduce carbon emissions by 8.16 million tonnes, according to the Chinese National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC ).
China is thus breaking “the monopoly of foreign technology in nuclear matters,” the CNNC said in a statement.
Chinese nuclear power plants supplied only 5% of the country’s electricity needs in 2019, according to the National Energy Administration, but this share is expected to increase with China’s goal of being carbon neutral. ‘by 2060.
Reducing dependence on Western technology in strategic sectors, such as nuclear power, is a central objective of the Chinese strategy defined in the “Made in China 2025” plan. Billions of dollars in public aid have been poured into Chinese companies to achieve this goal.
In total, China has 47 nuclear power plants with a total capacity of 48.75 million KW, ranking third behind the United States and France. Work to develop Hualong One started in 2015 and six other reactors are currently under construction, in China and abroad, the CNNC said.