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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | February 17, 2013 10:01 PM PST

China has fired up its first nuclear power plant after the destructive 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, near Wafangdian in Liaoning province at its northeast portion.

The $8.02 billion Hongyanhe nuclear power station started operations on Sunday following Beijing's approval in October 2012 of a nuclear power safety and a development schedule. The approval lifted a self-imposed two-year ban on existing and new nuclear projects following the crisis set off by the earthquake that crippled the Japan Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011. 

The Hongyanhe nuclear power station is composed of four power generation units. It began construction in 2007 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.

Once fully completed, the four units will generate 30 billion kilowatt-hours (kwh) of electricity per year, which will be 16 per cent of the total electricity consumption in Liaoning Province, Yang Xiaofeng, the general manager of Liaoning Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Co Ltd, told state-run Xinhua news agency.  

Following the operation of the new plant, China now has 16 working reactors with total generating capacity of more than 12 gigawatts of. The country targets to boost its nuclear capacity to 58 gigawatts by 2020.

According to a government white paper on energy policy released in October 2012, China still has another 26 nuclear reactors being constructed to add another 29.24 GW. 

The plant is located near the town of Wafangdian, 68 miles from the port of Dalian.

Mr Yang said more than 80 per cent of the parts and components of the plant were sourced locally. He added it is likewise the first Chinese nuclear power plant to be utilising seawater desalination technology to provide cooling water.

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