China‘s National Nuclear National Corporation as part of its country’s efforts to diversify its nuclear sector said China has begun building its first small modular project in the island of Hainan.
The project was originally scheduled to enter construction in 2017. The company did not say when the project is likely to be completed.
The country’s first demonstration, the SMR at Changjiang’s nuclear facility in Hainan, will be used to “verify the design, manufacture, construction and operation of technology and accumulate valuable experience in small nuclear power plants,” CNNC said in a statement.
China hopes that the reactor – “Linglong One” – will eventually stay alongside its third-generation “Hualong One” model after offering to export advanced nuclear technologies and build overseas projects.
SMRs are about one third of the size of conventional reactors and can be used in remote villages, sent to islands and plugged into existing network infrastructure. It is also expected that they will be used in China for urban heating and desalination projects.
The State Energy Investment Corporation said last month that it was planning to build a small-scale pilot heating reactor in the northeastern city of Jiamus in order to be operational by 2024.
China’s ambitious plans to build reactors are backed by its decision to rely on larger, safer, but unproven designs that are costly and have long construction time.
The first AP1000 in the world, designed by Westinghouse based in Washington, eventually came into operation at Sanmen on China’s eastern shore last year, about four years after the deadline. The first EPR in the world, designed by Areva, France, also came into operation in China last December.