Putian in Fujian to be site of next nuclear plant

Updated: 2012-03-04 07:50

By Tuo Yannan (China Daily)

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Putian in Fujian to be site of next nuclear plant

An extension of the Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant was constructed in December 2010. [Huang Zongzhi / Xinhua]

Safer nuclear power first priority after Japan's post-tsunami radiation leak

BEIJING - The first China-engineered improved third-generation nuclear power plant will be showcased in Putian county, Fujian province, by as early as 2013, Chen Bingde, chief engineer of Nuclear Power Institute of China and a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, told China Daily on Saturday.

The institute is a division of China National Nuclear Corp, the largest State-owned nuclear enterprise in China. The company built the Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant, China's first, in 1991.

"The Putian plant will adopt China-developed nuclear technology model ACP100, which is considered much safer and having higher energy efficiency compared to current second- and third-generation plants," said Chen.

He said it will have some improved third-generation nuclear power facility's features, including smaller size, shorter construction time and higher safety level.

The new technology's final aim is to eliminate the emergency evacuation zone of a nuclear plant, he said. The construction time is expected to be shortened from the current 50 months to 30-40 months.

"In the near future, nuclear plants can be built right next to cities," he explained. The concept of the new plant is a 100,000-kilowatt-grade nuclear power facility, with very low cost.

After the Japan radiation leaks about a year ago, the demand for safer nuclear power plants has become stronger worldwide. Fourth-generation nuclear technology is now being studied by many countries, according to Chen.

South Korea leads the trend. Seoul is planning to acquire a construction license by the middle of this year. The United States has stronger theoretical development, while China performs better on the experimental aspects, added Chen.

He said China's nuclear plants are safe. After the Japanese accident, many third-generation reactors underwent 25 measures to improve safety, including strengthening the protection wall and adding back-up electricity power generators. Some second-generation reactors were upgraded with new technology.

Most of China's nuclear technology was imported from other countries, such as the US, France and Russia.

Only the Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant applied China-developed technology, he said, and "it has maintained safe and stable operation for 20 years.

"We have exported Qinshan plant technology to Pakistan, and some other developing countries will be our next targets."

However, China still falls behind in some core technologies compared to Western countries.

"If China wants to export our own nuclear technology, we need to develop our own core technology and get rid of the dependence on foreign technology."

The China National Nuclear Corp invested 1.75 billion yuan ($278 million) on research and development last year, a 20 percent year-on-year increase.

China Daily