Nuclear power: China to commission a small reactor
Sylvie Claire / July 14, 2021
China has begun construction of a new, easier-to-engineer type of nuclear reactor, an SMR, which will be the first in the world to enter commercial service, state media reported Wednesday.
In recent decades, nuclear reactors have tended to grow in size, but these projects are huge, very complex and expensive. For this reason, the industry is increasingly interested in developing small modular reactors (SMRs). These are small reactors with a power output of no more than 300 megawatts (MW), compared with more than 1,000 for conventional modern reactors. These reactors can be mass-produced in a factory and then transported to their place of operation, which greatly reduces costs. Another advantage is that they can be deployed in remote areas or areas with little infrastructure. China has started Tuesday the construction of this type of SMR on the tropical island of Hainan (south), which will become the first in the world to enter into commercial service, reported the China News Agency. The Changjiang power plant will eventually be equipped with an SMR Linglong One (ACP100), designed by the Chinese nuclear giant CNNC. With a power of 125 megawatts, it should provide electricity to 526,000 homes, according to CNNC.
The duration of the work has not been specified. Russia and the United States are working on the most advanced projects, but none of them has yet been certified for commercial use. The French nuclear industry has been thinking for several years about an SMR project, called Nuward. It is the result of a collaboration between the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), the electricity company EDF, the naval group Naval Group and the compact reactor specialist (notably for the naval industry) TechnicAtome. In 2019, the world's first floating nuclear power plant, developed by Russia, had arrived at its permanent parking port in Pevek, in the Russian Far East, after a 5,000-kilometer journey in the Arctic.