Construction has officially begun at China's Sanmen nuclear power plant after the pouring of first concrete for the site's first AP1000 reactor.
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A ceremony took place on 19 April as 5200 cubic metres of concrete was poured into what will become the foundations for all the buildings of the nuclear island. The concrete went towards covering 950 tons of reinforcing steel and 1000 anchor bolts which were put in place at the end of November last year.
Westinghouse and its partner Shaw are constructing the two AP1000 units at Sanmen in Zhejiang province. Under a 'self reliance' program, the AP1000 is to be mass produced and deployed in China under the leadership of the State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNTPC).
SNTPC chair Wang Binghua said it was a 'magnificent project' which will culminate with 'standardized design, shop prefabrication, module installation, professional management and self-reliant construction'.
Westinghouse president and CEO Aris Candris said that China is "taking a leadership position in building infrastructure and developing a comprehensive energy strategy that will support economic growth in an environmentally acceptable manner."
The first unit at Sanmen is expected to begin operation in August 2013 with the second about one year later, while another four AP1000s could also be built there. A second twin AP1000 site at Haiyang in Shandong province is also moving forward, with first concrete on the first unit expected in September this year.