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China Announces Beginning Construction of Small Modular Reactors To Start at Year End

March 31, 2019 (EIRNS)—China’s Ministry of Environment is proceeding with environmental impact assessment for a project to build an ACP100 small modular reactor (SMR) at Changjiang, Hainan, with construction to begin by the end of this year. According to the Chinese publication Nuclear World, the first concrete is to be poured on Dec. 31, World Nuclear News reported. The construction of the SMR is expected to take a little less than five-and-a-half years, with the first electricity expected to be produced by May 31, 2025. Hainan is an island, and a high-tech center, which is also the site of China’s newest space launch complex, which will be open to the public and include facilities for tourists to watch launches, a museum, and a space theme park.

The 125 MW ACP100 was identified as a “key project” in China’s 12th Five-Year Plan, and is developed from the larger Generation III ACP1000 pressurized water reactor. The design, which has 57 fuel assemblies and integral steam generators, incorporates passive safety features and will be installed underground.

A number of countries, including the United States, Argentina, and Canada, among others, have begun actively developing small modular reactors. The Portland, Oregon-based company NuScale Power has announced that its design of a small modular nuclear reactor has completed the Phase 1 review of its design certification application by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. What NuScales’ SMR is offering is twelve 50 MW reactors combined, scaled-down versions of large light water reactors, that can be put together module-by-module to develop a generating capacity of 600 MW. (See EIR, “Mass Production of Modular Nuclear Reactors To Industrialize Developing Countries Until Fusion Power Comes Online,” Nov. 16, 2018.)

The S.3422 bill for rejuvenation of nuclear power in the United States, presented by a bipartisan group of Senators last week, pushed for rapid advancements in high-assay low-enriched uranium fuels, which several small modular reactors under development require, but for which no domestic production capability currently exists.

Lyndon LaRouche’s EIR article of Aug. 9, 1985, “Private Initiative for Colonizing the Moon and Mars,” makes an urgent appeal for development and mass-production of fission SMRs, to be followed by fusion SMRs. That article will be republished in the EIR of April 5.

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