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Haiyang units 1 and 2 (Image: SPIC)

On 15th November, Shandong Nuclear Power Company (SDNPC) - a subsidiary of State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) and the owner of Haiyang plant - announced that following a few days of trial operation, the first phase of demonstration district heating system had officially been put into operation. The system will initially heat 700,000 square metres of housing this winter, including SDNPC's dormitory and some residents of Haiyang.

The system extracts non-radioactive steam from the secondary circuit of the two Haiyang AP1000 units, which is then fed through a multi-stage heat exchanger in an on-site heat exchange station. This heat is then fed to an off-site heat exchange station belonging to local thermal company Fengyuan Thermal Power, from which heated water flows through municipal heating pipes to consumers.

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The on-site heat exchange station at the Haiyang plant (Image: SDNPC)

This use of nuclear energy heating is expected to avoid the use of 23,200 tonnes of coal annually, cutting emissions of soot by 222 tonnes, of sulfur dioxide by 382 tonnes, of nitrogen oxide by 362 tonnes and of carbon dioxide by 60,000 tonnes.

The Chinese government has made clean-energy heating a priority. In 2017, the National Energy Administration released a five-year plan (2017-2021) in northern area, highlighting clean heating technology. As China’s first commercial nuclear heating project, Haiyang plant has made a beneficial exploration for comprehensive use of nuclear energy.

According to SDNPC, with slight modifications, Haiyang units 1 and 2 could have the capacity to provide heating to 30 million square meters. With the completion of subsequent units at Haiyang, the plant could eventually provide heating to more than 200 million square meters of housing within a 100 kilometre radius, avoiding the use of about 6.62 million tonnes of coal.

The Haiyang Nuclear Energy Heating Project is expected to provide heat to the entire Haiyang city by 2021. Furthermore, based on Haiyang plant, combined with other new clean energy heating, SPIC plans to replace all coal-combustion heat supply in Shandong Peninsula. It will be a clean zero–carbon heating model for China northern areas.

Unit 1 of the Haiyang plant entered commercial operation in October 2018, with unit 2 following in January. Together, Haiyang units 1 and 2 provide 20 TWh of electricity to the grid annually, sufficient to meet one-third of household demand in Shandong province.

In parallel, SDNPC signed a contract for a large-scale desalination demonstration project at Haiyang last month to provide water for residents and industries in the area.