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Nuclear Energy: China is building world’s 1st commercial land-based SMR

The world’s first commercial land-based small modular reactor, or SMR, is under construction in southern China’s Hainan Province. Our reporter Zheng Yibing visited the power plant where the unit is located.

China’s building the demonstration project of the “Linglong-1,” a small modular reactor in the country’s southern island province of Hainan. It’s the world’s first such type of nuclear reactor approved by the IAEA, hoping to serve the region’s diverse power needs, including remote towns.

QU YONG Chief engineer of Linglong-1 Hainan Nuclear Power “We believe that it will be a trend of nuclear energy because it could be close to the load centers and based on customization. We call it SMR (small modular reactor). Each standard module of SMR could provide the load of 100 megawatts, and it could be perfectly coupled with user’s needs.”

The unit integrated the key components of conventional reactors into just one, focusing on safety, like the passive safety measures that operate without human intervention.

More than 70 models of this reactor type, which has been noted for its low-carbon-and-cost power, are being researched or are scheduled for construction in 18 countries.

QU YONG Chief engineer of Linglong-1 Hainan Nuclear Power “Take our Hainan Island for example. We used to rely on coal, oil and gas, and we got a relatively higher cost of transporting them here. Nuclear energy offers a new option. During the global energy crisis in recent years, many countries have been considering using the SMR technology.”

The construction of the demonstration project began in July 2021, and it ‘s proceeding smoothly on schedule.

JIANG WENLIN Senior engineer China Nuclear Industry 22nd Construction Company “Its main construction period is 20 months. We will finish building the six major structures of the project during the period and then, we will go into the installation phase.”

Great efforts are going in to making this project a reality.

ZHENG YIBING Changjiang, Hainan Province “Now, I am walking on top of this power plant construction site. Looking right there at the bottom, you can see, that is the place, in the future, the reactor will be installed.”

“It is so difficult for me to get down from the top of this building to the bottom and I can sense that it’s not easy to build such a big project and these workers are busy working.”

“This is the core area of the ‘Linglong-1’ power unit. In about 40 months, the reactor installed here will generate electricity to meet the local needs.”

Among the first planned users of the new power source will be a local desalinator and a neighboring industrial park. And those early operational experiences will help officials plan for Linglong-1’s future applications. Zheng Yibing, CGTN, Changjiang.

Source: CGTN