(Yicai Global) March 22 -- China aims to start construction this year on a small-scale nuclear power unit in the southernmost island province of Hainan, marking the third such project to be rubber-stamped this year.
China National Nuclear Power aims to complete the project within 65 months as part of efforts to better meet local power demands, the Beijing-based firm said in a statement.
The small nuclear power unit will boast an installed capacity of 125,000 kilowatts, and use ACP100 small modular reactor technology from CNNP parent China National Nuclear.
China recently ended a freeze on new nuclear projects which had been in place since the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan. The country's authorities greenlighted two larger projects in Guangdong and Fujian provinces earlier this month.
Small modular reactors are a new direction for the sector, encouraged by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The US, Russia, South Korea, Japan and France are all developing this technology.
Applications of small nuclear power units are highly flexible and cannot be replaced by large nuclear power units. They can meet power demands of different regions and users, including the supply for small and medium-sized power grids, urban heating, industrial heating and desalination.
"Small modular reactors have broad market prospects," one nuclear industry insider told Yicai Global.
Two 650,000 kW units were installed in Changjiang in 2015 and 2016, respectively, and nuclear power provides one-third of the island's supply.
As an island, the scale and capacity of Hainan's power grid are relatively small, which is makes it suitable for developing and applying small units to alleviate the impacts of peak load regulations.
Editor: William Clegg