Compared with current technology, the AP1000 reactor is theoretically 100 times safer, requires 80 per cent less piping, 85 per cent fewer control cables, and need a third fewer pumps.
The AP1000 is several years later than originally planned.
* the building site sat idle for years, awaiting the US supplier to redesign the reactor's main pump
* 2011 nuclear reactor meltdown in Japan's Fukushima caused a halt on all nuclear power plant construction and redesigns for increased safety
* a six month delay because of Westinghouse bankruptcy
With the commissioning of Sanmen, the industry is hoping to get the nod to build more reactors at home, and even export the AP1000 technology.
China has combined the best of AP1000 and EPR to conceive the Hualong design, featuring a top-side water tank and a catchment container. A Hualong reactor was sold to Pakistan, where construction began in 2015 scheduled for commissioning in late 2021. Another is currently awaiting the UK government's review to build a plant.