Work is now underway at the Changjiang nuclear reactor complex on Hainan using ‘small modular reactors’ which can be transported by container from the factory
China has started construction on its first commercial onshore nuclear project using its homegrown ‘Linglong One’ small modular reactor (SMR) design, the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) said on Tuesday, about four years later than planned.
CNNC originally aimed to start building the project at the Changjiang nuclear reactor complex on the island province of Hainan in 2017, but it has been subject to regulatory delays.
The ‘Linglong One’, also known as the ACP100, was the first SMR to be approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2016. Each unit has power generating capacity of 125 megawatts (MW).
It was designed to complement the state-run CNNC’s larger third-generation 1,170-MW ‘Hualong One’ reactors, which China is planning to roll out rapidly at home and promote overseas.
SMRs are cheaper and quicker to build than traditional reactors, and can also be deployed in remote regions and on ships and aircraft. Their ‘modular’ format means they can be shipped by container from the factory and installed relatively quickly on any proposed site.
China has been looking into using small reactors to provide urban heating in the north and run desalination facilities along the coast. It is also using them to support construction activities in disputed parts of the South China Sea.
- Reporting by Reuters