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China to build world’s first fourth-generation nuclear power plant

Updated: Apr 20,2015 9:11 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — The building of the world’s first commercial fourth-generation nuclear power plant may start in east China’s Jiangxi province in 2017, if a plan to the effect is approved by the government, sources said.

The power plant, using high-temperature gas-cooled reactors, will be located in Ruijin, Jiangxi. Its first generating unit will be operational by 2021, officials with the state-owned China Nuclear Engineering Group Co. (CNEG) said on April 20.

They are still waiting for permit from the central government, they said.

The high-temperature gas-cooled reactor is a technology independently developed by China and is best known for its inherent safety design, according to Wang Shoujun, CNEG chairman.

This technology will ensure that the fuel elements of the reactor will not be melted under any conditions and no radioactive material will be released into the environment, said Wang.

A demonstration plant using this technology has been under construction since 2012 in Rongcheng city of east China’s Shandong province and is expected to be operational in 2017.

An initial feasibility research for the Jiangxi plant has been approved by the nuclear expert committee. Following the research, CNEG and the Jiangxi provincial government will jointly apply to the National Development and Reform Commission to involve the project in the national nuclear program, CNEG chairman Wang Shoujun said.

Further feasibility research will then be conducted along with the land acquisition and construction of supporting facilities for the project, Wang said.

The central government approved the construction of two nuclear power units in southeast China’s coastal province of Fujian on April 15, using a domestic third generation reactor design.

China has 23 nuclear power generating units in operation and 27 under construction, about one third of the world’s unfinished nuclear units, nuclear safety official Tang Bo said on April 17.