China has given new nuclear reactors the green light for the first time in three and a half years as it looks to spur economic activity and exports of its reactors. Six reactors with a combined capacity of 7 gigawatts have been approved for construction across Fujian, Guangdong and Shandong provinces, National Energy Administration development and planning office chief Li Fulong said July 25. China has seen multiple delays with new reactors in recent years. The Sanmen plant in Zhejiang Province was supposed to bring its first reactor, Westinghouse Electric’s AP1000, online in 2013 but did not until 2018. The start of the first unit at the Taishan plant, an EPR reactor by Framatome, was also delayed to 2018 from 2016. Both the AP1000 and the EPR are new models designed to automatically shut down during a loss of all electrical power and needed time to obtain the necessary approval. Still, state-run power companies in China have brought more than 15 nuclear reactors online since 2016. The country has also made significant progress in promoting its first domestically developed reactor: the Hualong One, based on American and French technology. The Hualong One features a double-layered containment shell for added safety. Nearly 90% of its parts are produced in China, which is believed to have cut total costs by at least half compared with Western-developed reactors. Of the newly approved facilities, the Zhangzhou and Taipingling power plants will use the Hualong One. Zhangzhou had originally planned to go with the AP1000.
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