CAP1400 reactor vessel passes pressure tests

22 March 2017

Hydraulic pressure testing has been completed on the reactor pressure vessel for the demonstration CAP1400 unit to be built at Shidaowan in China's Shandong province.

CAP1400 RPV testing - 460 (SNPTC)
The demonstration CAP1400 reactor vessel (Image: SNPTC)

The vessel - with a total weight of about 487 tonnes - underwent a two-stage hydraulic pressure test to confirm the integrity of its welds and seals. The tests were witnessed by officials from China's regulator, the National Nuclear Safety Administration; reactor designer, the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute (SNERDI); and the manufacturer of the vessel, China First Heavy Machinery Group.

The first stage of the tests involved raising the pressure within the vessel to 21.5 megapascals (MPa) and maintaining it at that pressure for 10 minutes to check the integrity of the vessel. The pressure was then lowered to 17.2 MPa - the design pressure for the vessel - and the O-ring seals were then checked for leaks both internally and externally. The tests were successfully completed on 17 March.

The CAP1400 is an enlarged version of the AP1000 pressurized water reactor developed from the Westinghouse original by State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC), with consulting input from the Toshiba-owned company. As one of China's 16 strategic projects under its National Science and Technology Development Plan, the CAP1400 is intended to be deployed in large numbers across the country. The reactor design may also be exported.

In May 2016, the CAP1400 design successfully passed the International Atomic Energy Agency's Generic Reactor Safety Review. This review is not a clearance process but a review of the quality of the safety documents identifying strengths, weaknesses and gaps.

International use of the CAP1400 is still dependent on meeting country-specific standards and requirements, but passing the IAEA safety review will make this process easier.

Site preparation is already underway for two demonstration CAP1400 units at Huaneng Group's Shidaowan site in Shandong province. The pouring of first concrete is expected to take place soon.

Huaneng Group's Shidaowan site is part of a larger Rongcheng Nuclear Power Industrial Park, at which two prototype 105 MWe HTR-PM small modular reactors are already under construction.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

Filed under: New build, Supply chain, China