China has commenced construction of a new 200 MW nuclear power reactor, reports the Xinhua News Agency. The 3 billion yuan (US$481 million) power project will be the first in the world to put a reactor with fourth-generation features into commercial use.
The project’s builder and operator, Huaneng Shandong Shidao Bay Nuclear Power Co, told Xinhua construction began last month in the eastern province of Shandong with operations slated to begin in late 2017.
According to the article, the new high temperature gas-cooled reactor will be equipped with advanced passive safety features, which provides for a safe shut-down in an emergency without causing a reactor core meltdown or massive leakage of radioactive material.
The Shidao Bay project also marks China's return to its ambitious nuclear power development plan, which was halted following the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis in Japan. In October China’s State Council released a revised set of nuclear safety regulations that lifted the ban on new projects and adjusted its nuclear generation target to 40 gigawatts (GW) from 50 GW by 2015.
The new reactor is the first phase of a plan currently awaiting approval for a 6.6 GW nuclear power complex that will include the construction of five pressurized water reactors and require an investment of 100 billion yuan over a 20 year period.