Construction has started on an advanced high-temperature gas-cooled reactor in China – the first new nuclear plant to gain approval since the government's regulatory overhaul after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accidents.
Following inspections of existing nuclear sites and a review of safety standards, the Chinese government resumed licensing for new coastal plants in October. State news agency Xinhua reported over the weekend that construction on the new reactor began last month at Rongcheng in Shandong Province. The 200 megawatt reactor, developed by Tsinghua University, is expected to cost $476 million and will be complete at the end of 2017. Huaneng Shandong Shidao Bay Nuclear Power Co. (HSNPC) will build and operate the plant for other investors that include China Huaneng Group, China Nuclear Engineering Group Co. and the university. HSNPC told Xinhua that the design incorporates generation IV features and passive safety systems.
China leads the world in nuclear power construction, with 26 new units underway. At Rongcheng, HSNPC also envisions construction of four Westinghouse AP1000 reactors and one unit of its domestic derivative, the CAP1400, pending government approvals.