China starts building the world’s first ground-based small modular nuclear reactor

In China, in the southern province of Hainan, construction has begun on the world’s first land-based small modular nuclear reactor. The power of the Linglong One reactor will reach 125 MW. All work should take five years. Upon completion of the project, Linglong One reactors could become a commercial product for sale around the world. All components of modular nuclear power plants made in China were the main requirement for import substitution in the energy sector.

Today, small modular reactors in the form of floating nuclear power plants are operated in Russia. The United States is also showing interest in small nuclear reactors, which, as “batteries”, want to be completely assembled at the plant and delivered to the customer in 12-meter shipping containers only for the duration of their operation. Small nuclear power plants are expected to act as a buffer for smoothing renewable energy production cycles. They adapt well to small power grids and can operate flexibly.

China, like the United States, sees the path to total decarbonization of production and life only with the help of nuclear energy. Another requirement for Chinese nuclear power plants is the transition to completely domestic materials. In the field of large nuclear reactors, the Celestial Empire already has something to be proud of – in February of this year, a 1000-MW domestic reactor, Hualong One, was commissioned, 90% consisting of equipment manufactured in China. The introduction of the 100-MW Linglong One reactors will expand opportunities for regions with lower energy consumption and compensate for failures in renewable energy generation.

China recognizes that the efficiency of 100-MW Linglong One reactors is significantly lost compared to 1000-MW reactors. Therefore, the Linglong One project is viewed through the prism of commercial benefits. In China, there may be very few of them, but the success of the implementation will allow massively selling projects to foreign clients.

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Alexandr Ivanov earned his Licentiate Engineer in Systems and Computer Engineering from the Free International University of Moldova. Since 2013, Alexandr has been working as a freelance web programmer.
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Alexandr Ivanov

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