Hongyanhe district heating demonstration project starts

02 November 2022

The demonstration nuclear energy heating project at the Hongyanhe nuclear power plant in China’s Liaoning province has been officially put into operation. It is the first nuclear energy heating project in northeast China, benefiting nearly 20,000 local residents.

A classroom being heated from the nuclear power plant (Image: CGN)

The project involves a primary pipeline network of nearly 10 kilometres, a secondary pipeline network of 5.7 kilometres and four new heat exchange stations, China General Nuclear (CGN) said.

The estimate is that the project will reduce the consumption of coal by 5726 tonnes, reduce CO2 emissions by 14,100 tonnes and "effectively improve the atmosphere in the heating area" providing "remarkable" environmental protection benefits.

The Hongyanhe plant is owned and operated by Liaoning Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Company, a joint venture between CGN and State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC), each holding a 45% stake, with the Dalian Municipal Construction Investment Company holding the remaining 10%. In March Liaoning Hongyanhe Nuclear Power signed an agreement with Liaoning's largest central heating enterprise, SPIC subsidiary State Power Investment Northeast Electric Power Company, for a district heating project at the Hongyanhe plant.

Construction of Phase I (units 1-4) of the Hongyanhe plant, comprising four CPR-1000 pressurised water reactors, began in August 2009. Units 1 and 2 have been in commercial operation since June 2013 and May 2014, respectively, while unit 3 entered commercial operation in August 2015 and unit 4 in September 2016. Phase II - units 5 and 6 - comprises two ACPR-1000 reactors. Construction of unit 5 began in March 2015 and that of unit 6 started in July the same year. Unit 5 began commercial operation on 31 July last year, while unit 6 began commercial operation in June this year.

Some of the pipeline for the district heating project (Image: CGN)

This is the first district heating project in northeast China. The Chinese government has made clean-energy heating a priority. In 2017, the authorities issued guidance on clean heating in winter in northern China. The National Energy Administration released a five-year plan, covering 2017-2021, highlighting the innovation of clean heating technology and consideration of nuclear heating.

China's Haiyang nuclear power plant in Shandong province 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. This year the Haiyang Nuclear Energy Heating 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