Work has resumed on a "fourth generation" nuclear power plant, suspended after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, which will be China's biggest nuclear facility.
Construction of the coastal Shidao Bay nuclear plant in Rongcheng, a city in the eastern province of Shandong, resumed last month, the Economic Observer, a Beijing-based weekly newspaper, reported yesterday, adding that the plant is "China's biggest planned nuclear project".
The plant, which will be cooled by high temperature gas, will become "the world's first successfully commercialised fourth-generation nuclear technology demonstration project", the report said.
The plant was designed to be safer and cuts down on costs, the report quoted a spokesman from the China Huaneng Group, the biggest investor in the plant, as saying.
The plant is expected to begin supplying electricity to the grid by 2017 and will have a final generating capacity of 6,600 megawatts, the report said.
The newspaper report added that initial investment in the project was three billion yuan (HK$3.68 billion).
The Shidao Bay plant "has been developed and designed solely by Chinese researchers", the state-run China Radio International said. It quoted a China Huaneng Group researcher as saying the company hoped to export the design.
In October Beijing lifted a ban on new nuclear power stations imposed in 2011 after Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown, when the facility was struck by a tsunami, and will allow construction of a "small number" of coastal nuclear power plants, according to an official report.
Construction on the Shidao Bay plant began in 2011 but was suspended in the wake of the Fukushima crisis, the China Internet Information Centre said.
There are 15 operational commercial nuclear reactors in China, which has ambitious plans to expand its nuclear industry, with 27 reactors under construction near coastal areas, according to the World Nuclear Association.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection said in a report in October that the country's nuclear safety situation was "not optimistic", and that the use of differing types of reactors in Chinese plants made the sector "difficult to manage".