|The scene at 9.38 pm yesterday (Image: SNPTC)
A ceremony yesterday evening marked the official start of construction at Sanmen 2, China's third AP1000 nuclear power reactor.
The first portions of concrete were poured for the raft base of the reactor building, following excavation and subsequent creation of a concrete basemat. The State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation - in charge of transferring knowledge of the AP1000 design from Westinghouse to Chinese firms - said that the project was six weeks ahead of schedule. It is meant to begin operation in June 2014.
The other AP1000 on site, unit 1, passed this phase in April. Some of the first modules have been delivered and put in place and the installation of the containment vessel bottom head is due this month. Ultimately, six reactors are planned for the site in eastern Zhejiang province.
Westinghouse and its construction partner Shaw have a contract for four AP1000s, covering two reactors at Sanmen and two more at Haiyang in Shandong province. After that China wants to take control and quickly and progressively become self-sufficient in deploying AP1000s and its own derivatives. Three subsequent AP1000 sites are already proposed: Xian'ning, Hubei province, Tauhuajing in Hunan, and Pengze in Jiangxi. Six further sites are already pencilled in less firmly.