Third-generation nuclear power plant nears completion in China

Third-generation nuclear power plant nears completion in China (Photo: CNTV/

Sanmen, China's first third-generation nuclear power station is in the process of being completed. The power station - located in the eastern province of Zhejian, is being constructed through the largest China-U.S. joint energy project to date.

Marking a milestone in the construction process is the final inspection of an 800 ton steel containment vessel signaling the completion of the main structure housing the nuclear reactor unit.

Many have voiced concerns over the safety issues that arose from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan after a massive earthquake and devastating tsunami struck the island nation in March 2011. According to project developers, those concerns have been addressed through the advanced safety features of the AP1000 reactor technology being utilized at the plant.

“The risk is 100 times lower," said Sanmen AP1000 Deputy Manager of Westinghouse Industrial Products, Ting Qian. "It can work without power, the gravity and natural circulation will keep the vessel water in condition."

Officials also ensured the joint team has implemented all standards set forth by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission as well as the nuclear safety laws and regulations of China.

The new plant is slated to begin generating electricity in 2014 and will supply an estimated 15 percent of Zhejiang province's electricity by 2015. The plant will also aid in China's ambitions to nearly double the country's current level of nuclear power by 2020.

Learn more about China's nuclear energy generation in PennEnergy's research area.

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