SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Work on China's largest planned nuclear facility has restarted, state media said on Saturday, a sign that the thaw in the country's nuclear industry is gaining pace after it was frozen in response to Japan's Fukushima atomic crisis in 2011.
Building of the Shidao Bay nuclear plant in coastal Shandong province, eastern China, resumed on December 21, Xinhua news agency reported.
Beijing - in common with many governments worldwide - suspended work on nuclear projects after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March 2011 which triggered a radiation disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor complex.
More recently it has softened its stance on nuclear energy. In October last year, China announced revised plans for the sector and said it would start approving new reactors, though at a slower pace than pre-Fukushima.
Before the Japanese disaster, many in the industry had expected China to set a 2020 capacity target of around 80-90 gigawatts (GW), but that target was scaled back to 58 GW.
The Shidao Bay plant is expected to start supplying electricity to the grid by the end of 2017, and ultimately to have the capacity to supply 6,600 megawatts, Xinhua said.
Initial investment in the project, led by power producer Huaneng Power International Inc., is planned to be 3 billion yuan ($481.52 million), Xinhua said.
($1 = 6.2303 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)