Hainan signs deal on small-scale modular nuclear reactor for clean electricity for FTZ

The Hainan Free Trade Zone will be powered by clean electricity generated by a state-of-the-art small modular nuclear reactor developed by nuclear giant China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC), the company reported recently.

A Hainan-based expert said the nuclear deal will give the island badly-needed energy at low costs, in a sustainable fashion, and it will power up the internet and information technology sectors the island has tied its future to.

“The company shares a responsibility and has the capacity to provide a green energy engine that will power up Hainan’s future growth,” CNNC said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Thursday. 

The cost of the project was not mentioned in the press release.

The electricity will be generated by the pilot Linglong 1 third-generation small modular reactor.

The pilot commercial project will test the technology and cumulative experience for small nuclear generators, which have broad application scenarios. 

The country's first demonstration SMR at the Changjiang nuclear facility in Hainan
China’s first demonstration SMR at the Changjiang nuclear facility in Hainan

“Hainan has many power-hungry ambitions, but it is an energy-starved province, so nuclear energy is seen as a major driver for sustainable energy supply and diversification,” said Liang Haiming, dean of the Belt and Road Institute at Hainan University.

The province aims to become a key link for international undersea optical cables and develop the emerging 5G telecommunication network, according to a provincial action plan issued on Monday. All these efforts need constant supply of competitively priced electricity.

Coal-based power plants that have dominated Hainan’s power supply are polluting the air and the island has transportation bottlenecks to ensure stable coal supply, Liang told the Global Times on Thursday.

A small-scale reactor is appropriate for the province, which has small civilian and industrial power demand, according to Liang.

CNNC previously installed two nuclear reactors in Hainan, providing about 30 percent of its power supply and greatly relieving shortages, the company said.

Source: ecns.com