CAP1400 test facility under construction

04 April 2012

Construction has started on an integrated test facility for the passive core cooling system for the CAP1400 reactor under development by China's State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC).

A groundbreaking ceremony and the pouring of first concrete for the test facility - known as the Advanced Core-cooling Mechanism Experiment (ACME) - took place on 28 March. It is being built at Tsinghua University, which is involved in the development of the CAP1400, a Chinese derivative of Westinghouse's AP1000 design.

CAP1400 cooling system test facility (SNPTC)
Work gets underway on the passive core cooling system test facility (Image: SNPTC)

The ACME facility will be used to simulate the operation of the CAP1400's passive core cooling system in the event of a 'small break' loss of coolant accident (LOCA), to validate the engineering design of the system and to collect thermal-hydraulic data for safety code assessment. The experimental program of ACME consists of three parts: firstly, small break LOCA tests, with scenarios using different break sizes and break locations; secondly, for non-LOCA accident tests, such as station blackout; and thirdly, other thermal-hydraulic tests. 

The main part of construction of the ACME facility is scheduled to be completed by mid-2012, while the test data analysis and code assessment are planned to be finished at the end of 2013.

SNPTC said the start of construction of the ACME project 'marks a major national milestone and has laid a good foundation for the timely submission of the validation and assessment of critical test data in support of the CAP1400 design.'

In addition to the passive core cooling system testing facility, several other CAP1400 test facilities, including an integrated test facility for the passive containment cooling system, are also being established.

Construction of the first CAP1400, at a site near Weihei in Shandong Province, is officially scheduled to begin in April 2013. SNPTC will take the lead with 55% of the project company. The other stakeholder will be Huaneng Nuclear Power Development Corp, a subsidiary China Huaneng Group, one of China's largest power companies. The partners hope their first CAP1400 will begin operation in December 2017. The pressurized water reactor is a development of a Westinghouse design currently being imported with its generating capacity boosted from 1100 MWe to 1400 MWe.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News