China started construction of a 3 billion yuan ($481 million) nuclear power reactor last month, the Xinhua News Agency reported today, citing the Chinese energy company in charge of the project.
The reactor, which is being built at Shidao Bay in the eastern province of Shandong, will start generating power by the end of 2017 and will have capacity of 200 megawatts, Xinhua said, quoting the operator of the plant, Huaneng Shandong Shidao Bay Nuclear Power Co..
China’s State Council approved a nuclear power safety plan and a development schedule for the industry in October, effectively lifting a ban on new projects in place since an earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant in Japan in 2011. The world’s largest energy consumer is seeking to more than triple its nuclear power capacity to 40 million kilowatts in 2015 from 12.54 million kilowatts at the end of 2011, according to a government white paper released Oct. 24.
State-owned power generator China Huaneng Group Corp., China Nuclear Engineering Group Co., and Tsinghua University are investors in the project which is part of a plan by the three to build a 6.6 gigawatt nuclear power plant that will require investment of 100 billion yuan over 20 years, Xinhua reported. That project, which includes the construction of five pressurized water reactors, is still awaiting regulatory approval, it said.
The high temperature gas-cooled reactor to be used in the Shidao Bay project, developed by Beijing’s Tsinghua University, will have features that will allow it to safely shut down during emergencies without causing the core of the reactor to melt down or a “massive leakage” of radioactive material, Xinhua said, citing the statement from Huaneng Shandong Shidao.
If commercially successful, the technology and equipment will be exported to other countries, helping to boost the country’s nuclear industry, Xinhua said, citing a company official it didn’t identify.