A 200 MW reactor from China Huaneng Group Co. was connected to the power grid in Shandong Province. The manufacturer has announced that it will launch one more reactor of this type next year.
The Chinese SMR (Small Modular Reactor) is the world’s first high-temperature modular gas-cooled reactor. Instead of heating water to produce energy, it heats helium, and its small size (compared to traditional nuclear reactor designs) allows for greater scalability and a fairly substantial reduction in operating costs.
The first modular reactor will not be the only SMR operating in China for sure
China has announced that it will invest around $ 440 billion in the development of nuclear energy over the next 15 years, which makes the Middle Kingdom the world’s largest investor in the development of nuclear energy. China’s plan, moreover, is to have more nuclear reactors in the next 15 years than the United States, which is currently the largest producer of nuclear energy in the world.
China treats such large investments in nuclear energy as a kind of transition period. Let us recall that the country is investing in parallel in the development of an effective and stable process of nuclear fusion, with which it is currently experimenting in its EAST test reactor, often called the Chinese artificial sun. If Chinese scientists could harness this synthesis process, China would become independent of all kinds of fossil fuels over time.
Also read: Will the first nuclear reactor in Poland be built?
For now, however, it is a song of the future, so it is not surprising that Chinese investments in nuclear power plants. Other countries are doing the same – Poland, Romania and Great Britain are interested in building smaller modular reactors. The construction of SMR reactors in our country is to be carried out by KGHM in cooperation with the American company NuScale Power. The United Kingdom, in turn, will probably choose reactors designed by Rolls-Royce.
Many experts point out that the stability of nuclear energy makes it perfect for supplementing systems based on less predictable renewable energy sources. This feature is perfectly combined with the characteristics of the SMR reactors themselves, which, thanks to their small size, are much faster and cheaper to build than classic, huge reactors.