Chinese nuclear engineer cleared to begin work on prototype small modular reactor

China National Nuclear Power (CNNP) announced last week that it had been given the green light to build a prototype small modular reactor (SMR) on the southern island of Hainan, World Nuclear News reports.

The National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s main economic regulatory body, formally approved work on the ACP100, or Linglong One reactor, at the Changjiang nuclear power station on the northwest of the island.

The Chinese reactor is of the pressurised water type. It will use low-enriched uranium as fuel, and generate around 125MW of electricity or 385MW of thermal energy.

The demonstration reactor will be built by the CNNC Hainan Nuclear Power Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNNP, which is itself a subsidiary of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), the state-owned company that oversees all China’s civil and military nuclear activities.

CNNC’s image of an ACP100 small modular reactor

Work began on the reactor in 2010. In 2016, it became the first SMR to pass an independent safety assessment by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

CNNP did not say when construction of the ACP100 was scheduled to begin, although it was reported in 2019 that it would enter service in 2025 (see further reading).

The ACP100 is based on the existing 1.1GW ACP1000, a third-generation reactor that was based on France’s well established M310 design.

A two-unit demonstration plant was initially planned in Putian county, in south Fujian province. However, in early 2017, the site for the first ACP100 units was changed to Changjiang, and a larger reactor was earmarked for Putian.

It will be sited to the northwest side of the Changjiang site, where two Hualong One pressurised water reactors are also planned by state-owned utility the China Huaneng Group.

Top image: A rendering of the future Changjiang site (China Huaneng Group)

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