The pause for breath in China’s ambitious nuclear development program announced following the crisis at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plants appears to have been no more than a single intake of air. Barely a week after Beijing suspended approvals of all new nuclear power projects until a safety review is carried out, Bloomberg reports that work will start next month on a planned fourth-generation nuclear power plant at Rongcheng in Shandong.
Cui Shaozhang, deputy general manager at Huaneng Nuclear Power Development Co., a subsidiary of state-owned China Huaneng Group, China’s largest power group, said it would be the world’s first high-temperature, gas-cooled reactor. The Rongcheng plant will use helium in its cooling system, and its reactor cores are said to be able to withstand temperatures exceeding 1,600℃ for several hundred hours without melting down. “Japan’s Fukushima plant was using old technology while Chinese reactors are more advanced,” Cai is quoted as saying–words, this Bystander hopes, that will never come back to haunt him.