China’s first small modular reactor “to begin generating in 2025”

China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has confirmed plans to begin work by the end of the year on the Linglong One small modular reactor (SMR) following a nine-year research and development programme.

The first concrete will be poured for the 125MW pressurised water reactor in December at the Changjiang nuclear plant on the island of Hainan in the extreme south of China.

This development will put China in pole position in the international race to develop a commercial SMR, a market that UK National Nuclear Laboratory estimates could reach a maximum of 85GW by 2035.

CNNC announced in March that it was planning to begin work on the project on 31 December.

According to CNNC’s website, the demonstration project will "verify the design, manufacture, construction and operation of the technology. It will also help the company gain experience of running SMRs and investigate potential uses, from electricity generation to desalination".

In 2016, Linglong One ACP100 design became first SMR to pass an International Atomic Energy Agency safety review, and was approved by the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top regulatory agency, in May 2017

The Linglong One was developed using technology from the larger ACP1000 design. It incorporates passive safety features and will be installed underground. Construction is expected to take 65 months, leading to a start-up in 31 May 2025.

A plant was originally to be built by a joint venture between CNNC  and China Guodian Corp in Putian county, at the south of Fujian province. In early 2017, the site was changed to Changjiang.

As well as the AP100, China is planning to build a 210MW High Temperature Reactor, which has a gas-cooled design.

Image: CNNC’s ceremony to announce the start of the Linglong One project (CNNC)

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