China National Nuclear Power (CNNP), a subsidiary of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), announced on 3 June that the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) had formally approved construction of a demonstration ACP100 small modular reactor (SMR) at Changjiang NPP in Hainan province. The approval was reported to the Shanghai Stock Exchange by CNNP the following day. The demonstration project is owned by CNNC Hainan Nuclear Power Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNNP. China's state council approved the project earlier this year. The preliminary safety analysis report for the Hainan Changjiang Multipurpose Small Modular Reactor (ACP100) Science and Technology Demonstration Project was reviewed and approved by the National Nuclear Safety Administration in June 2020.

CNNC had announced the launch of its project to construct the multi-purpose demonstration ACP100, also known as Linglong One (meaning “exquisite”), at Changjiang in July 2019. Construction of the 125 MWe reactor is expected to take 65 months, for startup in May 2025, subject to relevant government approvals.

CNNC began development of the Linglong One in 2010, and it was the first SMR project to pass an independent safety assessment by International Atomic Energy Agency experts in 2016, becoming a reference point for international efforts to develop small modular multi-purpose reactors.

The multipurpose ACP100 is designed for electricity production, heating, steam production or seawater desalination. Its integrated pressurised water reactor (PWR) design was completed in 2014. The major components of its primary coolant circuit are installed within the reactor pressure vessel. It was identified as a 'key project' in China's 12th Five-Year Plan and is developed from the larger ACP1000 PWR. The design, which has 57 fuel assemblies and integral steam generators, incorporates passive safety features and could be installed underground. 

A two-unit demonstration plant was initially planned for construction by CNNC New Energy Corporation – a joint venture of CNNC (51%) and China Guodian Corp – in Putian county, in south Fujian province. However, in early 2017, the site for the first ACP100 units was changed to Changjiang, with a larger reactor to be built at Putian. It will be sited to the north-west side of the Changjiang NPP, where two CNP600 PWRs are operating, with two Hualong One units planned, according to China's Ministry of Environment. In 2016, China announced plans to build a demonstration floating nuclear power plant based on the ACP100S variant of the CNNC design.

Image: Cutaway of two ACP100 reactors (Credit: CNNC)