China plans to build a 60 billion yuan (US$7.5 billion) nuclear power plant in a central province, adding to a boom in its nuclear power industry, a news report said yesterday.
The latest plant is planned for Yueyang, Hunan Province, but no construction date has been set, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing local officials.
Xinhua didn't say whether it would use Chinese-made or imported equipment -- a key issue for US, European and Russian suppliers, which are looking to China to drive sales at a time when few other countries are building nuclear plants.
The Chinese government plans to build dozens of nuclear power plants in coming years as it tries to ease mounting power shortages cause by its economic boom. Beijing looks on nuclear power as a clean alternative to China's abundant but dirty coal resources.
The Yueyang plant would be the second in Hunan, away from the booming east coast, where China's existing nuclear plants are located near Shanghai and in Guangdong.
China's total power consumption in the first quarter of this year rose by nearly 12 percent to 625 billion kilowatt-hours, according to Xinhua.
The Yueyang plant is to be built by state-owned China National Nuclear Corp, according to the company's Web site. A company spokeswoman said that the facility is still in planning stages and refused to give any other details or her name.
The site is about 100km from the location of a nuclear plant planned for Taohuajiang, also in Hunan, that was announced in April by state-owned China Power Investment Corp.
The Taohuajiang plant is to use Chinese technology in an effort to hold down costs, according to earlier news reports.