The Qinshan demonstration 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.
CNNC said the Zhejiang Haiyan Nuclear Energy Heating Demonstration Project utilises the remaining thermal power from the Qinshan plant in winter to provide heating to public facilities, residential communities and industrial parks in Haiyan County without affecting the original power generation and safety performance of the reactors.
The company estimates that once the project is fully implemented, it will supply 704,000 gigajoules of heat, meeting the heating demand of 4 million square metres. Compared with the electric heating method in the southern region, it says, this can save 196 million kilowatt-hours of electric energy consumption annually. Compared with coal-fired thermal power plants, it can reduce the annual consumption of standard coal by about 24,600 tonnes, reducing the annual emissions of carbon dioxide by 59,000 tonnes, sulphur dioxide by 1817 tonnes and nitrogen oxides by 908 tonnes.
Qinshan is China's largest nuclear power plant, comprising seven reactors. Construction of Phase I of the plant - a 300 MWe pressurised water reactor (PWR) which was the first indigenously-designed Chinese nuclear power station to be built - began in 1985, with the unit entering commercial operation in 1994. Qinshan Phase II is home to four operating CNP-600 PWRs, built with a high degree of localisation. Units 1 and 2, comprising the first stage of Phase II, began operating in 2002 and 2004, respectively. Units 3 and 4 entered commercial operation in October 2010 and April 2021, respectively. Phase III consists of two 750 MWe pressurised heavy water reactors supplied by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd and commissioned in 2002 and 2003.
CNNC noted the installation and construction of the main equipment of the district heating project at Qinshan was completed in less than four months since the launch of the project.
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.
In September 2018, CNNC announced the completion of the preliminary design of the 400 MWt Yanlong pool-type low-temperature reactor for district heating. The company launched its independently researched and developed Yanlong reactor (referred to as the DHR-400) for district heating in November 2017.
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 system used at Haiyang extracts non-radioactive steam from the secondary circuit of the plant's two AP1000 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.