China's Haiyang nuclear power plant in Shandong province has officially started providing district heat to the surrounding area. A trial of the project - the country's first commercial nuclear heating project - was carried out last winter, providing heat to 700,000 square metres of housing, including the plant's dormitory and some local residents.
Beginning in September, Shandong Nuclear Power Company (SDNPC) - a subsidiary of State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) and the owner of Haiyang plant - cooperated with local thermal company Fengyuan Thermal Power to conduct a trial operation of the entire heating pipe network. At the end of October, trial operation using steam from Haiyang's two AP1000 reactors was carried out. On 12 November, the entire heating network began low-temperature trial operation. This was completed on 15 November and the system is now in commercial operation.
The system extracts non-radioactive steam from the secondary circuit of the two Haiyang 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 Fengyuan Thermal Power, from where heated water flows through municipal heating pipes to consumers.
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 Haiyang Nuclear Energy Heating Project is expected to provide heating to the entire Haiyang city by 2021.
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 and commissioning 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. Up to six CAP1000 units are also planned for the Haiyang plant.
The Chinese government has made clean-energy heating a priority and in 2017 issued guidance on this for winter in northern China. The National Energy Administration released a five-year plan, covering 2017-2021, that highlighted clean heating technology.
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.
Unit 1 of the Haiyang plant entered commercial operation in October 2018, with unit 2 following in January. Together, Haiyang units 1 and 2 will provide some 20 TWh of electricity to the grid annually, sufficient to meet one-third of household demand in Shandong province.