China claims small nuclear first

The core module of Linglong One, a commercial small modular reactor (SMR), has been successfully installed in south China’s Hainan Province.

As the world’s first land-based commercial small modular pressurised water reactor developed by China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), Linglong One, with a power generation capacity of 125 megawatts, can, the company claims, generate 1 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year once completed, which can meet the need of 526,000 households, and is equivalent to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 880,000 tonnes.

CNNC added that the reactor will facilitate building Hainan into a “clean energy island” and will help to meet the country’s carbon goals.

“[The installation] provides a solid foundation for the installation and testing of the following auxiliary system,” Deng Xiaoliang, deputy general manager of Hainan Nuclear Power Company, part of CNNC, told local news outlet CGTN.

The module is a precision piece of machinery that demands precise control of gravitational acceleration, and the installation of it was picked during good weather for that reason.

“Inclement weather conditions, such as strong winds and heavy rain, pose challenges to the safety of the equipment,” Zhao Long, the deputy director of the project engineering department of the institution, told CGTN. “In order to ensure a safe and successful installation in one go, we require the weather to be ideal,” he added.

The global SMR market was valued at $9.5 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $13 billion this year, according to Polaris Market Research.