China’s SMR replaces large nuclear power plants.

SMR, have you heard of it? It stands for small modular reactor. SMRs are being developed by nuclear-powered countries because they are smaller, require less investment than larger reactors, and can be a source of power in isolated areas such as coasts and islands. The renewed focus on nuclear power due to the importance of carbon reduction is also driving interest in SMRs.

In May, a report published by the Korea Federation of Businessmen and Entrepreneurs (“Proposal for Nuclear Civilian Cooperation between Korea and the United States”) suggested that Korea should hasten the export of SMRs in cooperation with the U.S. It was presented as an alternative to Russia and China, which control 79% of the nuclear power export market. Currently, more than 70 types of SMRs are under development in the U.S., U.K., China, Russia, and other countries. It is suggested that they will be commercialized from the 2030s.

Korea also has experience with SMRs, having developed the all-in-one small reactor SMART in 2012 and received a standard design license. Its rich experience in establishing nuclear power plants is also an important asset. It expects to build its first SMR in 2031.

Against this backdrop, China is pushing forward in the SMR race. On March 26, China’s SMR core module arrived in Changjiang, Hainan, China. China’s CCTV described it as the core module for the world’s first onshore commercial SMR, “Linglong 1.” The core module was transported to the Changjiang Nuclear Power Plant. Linglong 1 is targeted to be operational in 2026.

This module integrates the reactor, steam generator, coolant pump, and pressurizer. The integration eliminates piping and reduces the risk of radiation exposure.

Once the performance and safety of these SMR modules are proven, they will be mass-produced and economically viable, replacing large nuclear power plants. Some observers believe that SMRs will become a “game changer” in the global energy market. However, 먹튀검증 others say that while SMRs can be modularized to create power plants in multiple locations, it remains to be seen whether local residents will accept them.

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