Excavations for the nuclear island of Sanmen 1 are complete, China's State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNTPC) told World Nuclear News.
The quality of the pit was passed by the National Nuclear Safety Agency, some 67 days ahead of schedule SNTPC said, marking the official end of excavation. Excavation started about one month early too, according to Xinhua reports from the time.
The hole in the ground measures about 40 metres in diameter and 12 metres deep. Its floor has been levelled by the addition of small quantities of concrete. Safety regulators said: 'The true condition of the base is in accordance with the conclusions of the geological investigation and preliminary safety analysis report.'
Eventually the Sanmen site in Zhejian province will host two Westinghouse AP1000 pressurized water reactors, which will output 1250 MWe each. SNTPC is working in partnership with Westinghouse and its partner Shaw on the units. First concrete - the official start of construction of a nuclear power plant - should be poured for Sanmen 1 in March 2009, with operation following in late 2013.
A component module factory specifically for AP1000 units has been established near Haiyang in Shandong province, where two other AP1000s are to be built. Pre-assembled modules could be transported from the Haiyang facility across China or even for export later on in China's nuclear power program. A similar facility is planned in America to provide AP1000 modules to the USA as well as - potentially - the UK, South Africa and Turkey.