China starts building long-distance nuclear heating pipeline

17 February 2023

Construction has begun of a 23-kilometre-long pipe that will transport nuclear-generated heat from the Haiyang nuclear power plant in China's Shandong province to a wider area, State Power Investment Corp (SPIC) announced. The plant started providing district heat to the surrounding area in November 2020.

The ceremony marked the launch of a long-distance nuclear heating pipeline (Image: SPIC)

A ceremony was held on 4 February in the city of Yantai, near the Haiyang plant, to mark the start of construction of a pipeline to the city of Weihai.

"The heat pipe network marks the official start of China's first long-distance nuclear energy heat supply pipeline network project across prefecture-level cities," SPIC said. "It will realise cross-regional intercommunication and sharing of zero-carbon heat sources."

So far, the nuclear energy heating source project has completed an investment of CNY390 million (USD57 million), the company said. Installation of equipment at unit 2 of the Haiyang plant to extract heat began in July last year and has now been completed. The heating pipe network and pumping station in the plant are now being constructed.

The project is planned to be put into operation before the end of 2023, SPIC said.

The long-distance pipeline will have an annual heating capacity that can reach 9.7 million gigajoules, providing heat to a 13 million square metre area and meeting the needs of 1 million residents. This will replace the consumption of some 900,000 tonnes of coal, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 1.65 million tonnes.

The Haiyang plant officially started providing district heat to the surrounding area in November 2020. A trial of the project - the country's first commercial nuclear heating project - was carried out the previous winter, providing heat to 700,000 square metres of housing, including the plant's dormitory and some local residents. Earlier in 2020, the project began providing heating to the entire Haiyang city.

The first phase of a district heating demonstration project at the Qinshan nuclear power plant in China's southern Zhejiang Province was commissioned in December 2021. The project is divided into three phases. The initial phase now provides nuclear energy-generated central heating to 460,000 square metres of accommodation in three residential areas and 5000 square metres of apartments for nearly 4000 residents of Haiyan County. The overall project goal is to have a nuclear heating area of ​​4 million square metres by 2025, covering the main urban area of ​​Haiyan County and the entire area of ​​Shupu Town.

Russia, several East European countries, Switzerland and Sweden have all had nuclear-fuelled district heating schemes, and heat from nuclear power plants has also been sent to industrial sites in several countries.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News