CAP1400 access hatch passes factory acceptance test

08 July 2016

Function tests of the containment vessel access hatch for the demonstration CAP1400 unit to be built at Shidaowan in China's Shandong province have successfully been completed.

CAP1400 access hatch testing - 460 (SNPTC)
Workers manoeuvre the hatch door into its frame (Image: SNPTC)

The access hatch allows for large components and equipment to be moved into the containment building during the construction of a reactor and is also used during refuelling outages. The hatch forms part of the reactor's containment, preventing the release of radioactive materials into the environment in the event of a serious accident.

The tests on the CAP1400 hatch - weighing a total 78 tonnes, with a diameter of 8.5 meters and a maximum thickness of 13 centimetres - were completed on 5 July. Taking almost seven hours to carry out, they demonstrated the correct functioning of the equipment to move the hatch cover into and out of position, as well as the leak tightness of the seal in the hatch.

Shandong Nuclear Power Equipment Manufacturing Company (SNPEMC) said in a statement that successful completion of the tests not only verified the hatch meets design standards, but also the country's nuclear equipment manufacturing capacity, "providing the basis for the subsequent expansion of the nuclear power market". SNPEMC is a subsidiary of State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC).

The CAP1400 is an enlarged version of the AP1000 pressurized water reactor developed from the Westinghouse original by 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.

Earlier this year, 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