Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant China
A file photograph of a nuclear power station in Daya Bay, southern China. Reuters

State-owned China National Nuclear Power plans to raise $2.61bn through an initial public offering to fuel the world's biggest expansion of civilian nuclear power capacity.

The listing, if approved by China's securities regulator, could be the largest on the mainland since Agricultural Bank of China's (ABC) floatation in July 2010. However, Guotai Junan Securities could take that honour after applying for an IPO to raise 22bn yuan, Reuters reported.

State-owned China National Nuclear, in a preliminary prospectus on the regulator's website, said it plans to sell 3.651 billion shares, or 25% of its enlarged capital base, to fund projects and top off working capital.

The planned 16.3bn yuan ($2.61bn, £1.55bn, €1.88bn) Shanghai share sale is part of Beijing's push toward cleaner energy.

UBS Securities, Citic Securities and China Securities are the underwriters.

Nuclear Drive

China will beat its goal of having 58 gigawatt (GW) of installed nuclear power capacity by the end of the decade, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) chairman Sun Qin said in March.

CNNC oversees China's civilian and military nuclear programmes.

The world's second-largest economy may build 20 or more nuclear reactors over the next six years, Sun said.

Beijing is embarking on the world's biggest expansion of civilian nuclear power as the regime aims to increase its use of cleaner energy. Simultaneously, the world's most populous nation is looking to expand its power grid by as much as 80% this decade.

China now gets less than 2% of its electricity from 17 nuclear reactors.

Earlier, in March, Chinese premier Li Keqiang said his country would begin construction of a number of hydropower and nuclear power projects.

CNNC in the UK

In December 2013, China Guangdong Nuclear Power (CGNP) and CNNC jointly took a minority stake in the £16bn Hinkley Point project in the UK, in a consortium led by French utility EDF.

Last year, CNNC bagged a contract to build two reactors for the Karachi Coastal Nuclear Power Project in Pakistan. Beijing has committed $6.5bn to finance construction of the $9.59bn undertaking.