Workers have started to dig a hole for housing one of the two new generating units planned to add at the first phase of the Qinshan nuclear power plant, the first Chinese facility of its kind.
The excavation work, which began early this month, will be finished by late July, according to a source from China National Nuclear Corp.
Two pressurized reactors -- the application of the most-sophisticated and widely-accepted nuclear power technology in the world -- would be installed at Fangjiashan, Haiyan, on the northern coast of Hangzhou Bay, Zhejiang Province, not far from Shanghai. Each generating unit would have an installed capacity of 1 million kilowatts.
The State Environmental Protection Administration, which was promoted to a full ministry known as the Environmental Protection Ministry this year, approved two other reports involving the environmental impact and location safety over the proposed expansion.
The two generating units will be in place and be made ready for power generation by 2013 and 2014.
The first phase of Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant was the first nuclear power plant on the Chinese mainland built independently by domestic engineers.
Construction of the plant began in 1985. It was built with a 300,000 kilowatt prototype reactor with a lifespan of 30 years. It started generating power in 1991.
It has so far produced 31 billion kwh of electricity, and generated 9.6 billion yuan (about 1.28 billion U.S. dollars) in revenue and paid 1.8 billion yuan in tax.
The plant also has second and third phases.
Chinese engineers have installed two generating units in the second phase and have been preparing for adding at least two more generating units there.
The third phase houses two Canadian CANDU heavy-water reactors.
(Xinhua News Agency March 27, 2008)