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China to Start Construction of World's 1st AP1000 Unit in March 2009

China is to begin construction of the world's first nuclear plant using the AP1000 technologies at Sanmen Nuclear Power Project (NPP) in Zhejiang Province in March 2009, said a Chinese nuclear company executive.

"All kinds of preparation work is underway as scheduled," said Wang Binghua, board chairman of the State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) on Monday.

Sanmen NPP is in southeast Zhejiang Province. It is the world's first nuclear plant using the AP1000 technologies, considered the third-generation nuclear technology, and the first phase of the project will be put into commercial operation in November 2013.

Wang said the AP1000 technologies were suitable for inland nuclear power plants. The SNPTC was assisting relevant parties to select NPP sites in the country's inland regions.

A SNPTC official told Xinhua that challenges remained in the detailed design, engineering and construction of the first AP1000 unit.

By the year 2020, China plans to have 40-million-kilowatt installed capacity of nuclear power, accounting for 4 percent of the country' s total. However the current installed capacity of nuclear power is only about eight million kilowatts.

China now has 11 nuclear power reactors in operation. Among them, three use domestic technologies, two are equipped with Russian technology and four with French technologies, and two are Canadian designed. All the 11 reactors employ second-generation nuclear power technologies.

(Xinhua New Agency September 9, 2008)

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