A general view at the construction site of No. 2 reactor of the Changjiang Nuclear Power Plant. (Photo : Getty Images)
The first nuclear power plant in Hebei Province is expected to be in operation by the end of 2020. A total of $17.4 billion has been invested in its construction.
The power plant will be located in Cangzhou City in the eastern part of the province, close to the Bohai Sea. Its construction was started last year.
A Westinghouse AP1000 reactor will be used on the plant. The CNNP CHD Hebei Nuclear Power Co Ltd, a unit of China National Nuclear Power Co Ltd., said that reactor will take 54 months to build.
Analysts said that opening a nuclear power plant will make the energy demand of the country to rise over the medium term.
Joseph Jacobelli, a senior Asian utilities analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, said that the expectation of the energy sector of the country had been accelerating in recent years.
China is on a fast track to construct more nuclear power plants as it is the world's biggest energy consumer. In addition, it means that the nuclear power plant construction will eventually replace coal-fired stations, thus reducing air pollution in the country.
Coal was responsible for about 70 percent of electric power generation last year. Jacobelli is expecting it to fall below 50 percent in the next few years if China will favor nuclear, hydro and renewable energy.
He also said that Chinese companies are also developing local technologies in order for them to manufacture their own nuclear fuel assemblies and rely less on international companies for its fabrication.
"The more nuclear reactors China adds, the more experience it can draw on from the construction of these units, and this experience can be utilized by domestic developers to expand overseas," he added.
China National Nuclear Power Co Ltd signed a cooperation agreement with the Hebei provincial government last 2014. The agreement includes the construction of plants and industrial parks in the province as well as a Uranium Processing Plant and a nuclear power plant.
In recent years, Hebei has prioritized nuclear power projects to boost its economic transformation.