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China begins nuclear island installation of land-based small modular reactor

Global Times, PUBLISHED 04.12.2022

The nuclear island installation of the world's first commercial land-based small modular reactor, Linglong One, has officially begun construction in South China's Hainan Province, China's Central Television reported on Sunday.

Linglong One is a multi-functional modular small pressurized water reactor built by the China National Nuclear Corporation based on independent research and intellectual property rights.

It is also the world's first reactor of this type to be approved by the International Atomic Energy Agency on the basis that it is built to serve the region's diverse power needs.

The CCTV report described the nuclear island as the "heart" of the nuclear power plant. Other major facilities, including the power station's pressure vessel and steam generator, will all be installed within the nuclear island in the future, the report added.

Commencing construction in July 2021, the Linlong One project is characterized as being highly safe, having short construction period, flexible deployment among other advantages. It is expected to take about 58 months to finish the construction.

The reactor could be used as a distributed energy source to supply electricity, as well as meet other needs such as seawater desalination, regional heating, industrial heating and other purposes. Each set of Linglong One has a power capacity of 125,000 kilowatts, capable of generating one billion kilowatt-hours of power after construction.

The Linglong One is an example of China's strengthened investment in energy projects, not only because the country is mounting efforts to guarantee energy supply in case of a power crunch, like similar to those faced by parts of the country during power peak usage time, but also because China is actively pushing a transition toward low-carbon energy.

In the first eight months this year, China's investment in energy projects surged by 16.7 percent on a yearly basis, data from the National Energy Administration noted recently.

Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, said that the Linglong One should be a demonstration project, adding that such reactors have advantages compared with traditional ones, such as having low requirements for site selection.

However, Lin also noted that one problem with small reactors is that it's hard to make them commercialized as a result of their limited scale.

"Technology is not a problem, personnel safety is not a big problem, and the core problem still lies at how to reduce their costs," he noted.

Topics: Small NPP, Asia, China

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