China resumes construction of 'biggest' nuclear plant

China resumes construction of 'biggest' nuclear plant

China resumes construction of 'biggest' nuclear plant

Updated 5 January 2013, 21:07 AEDT

Chinese state media says the country has resumed construction of a nuclear power plant suspended after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The China Internet Information Center says work on the plant in Rongcheng in eastern China's Shandong province resumed last month.

It says the Shidao Bay plant is the country's biggest planned nuclear project. The plant is expected to begin supplying electricity to the grid by 2017.

A spokesman for the China Huaneng Group, the biggest investor in the plant, says it's designed to be safer and cost efficient, adding that the company hopes to export the design.

In October, China lifted a ban on new nuclear power stations imposed in 2011 after Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown, when the facility was struck by a tsunami.

The official report added that China also allowed the construction of a "small number" of coastal nuclear power plants.

Construction on the Shidao Bay plant began in 2011 but was suspended in the wake of the Fukushima crisis, the China Internet Information Center said.

There are 15 operational commercial nuclear reactors in China, which has ambitious plans to expand its nuclear industry, with 27 reactors under construction near coastal areas, according to the World Nuclear Association.

China's Ministry of Environmental Protection said in a report in October that the country's nuclear safety situation was "not optimistic", and that the use of differing types of reactors in Chinese plants made the sector "difficult to manage".

AFP