Capabilities in place for new Chinese reactors

30 July 2008

AP1000 cutaway
AP1000 reveals its major components

Ground has been broken on the first of China's AP1000 nuclear power reactors as the country puts together what amounts to a production line for further build.


Westinghouse reported a key milestone in its sale of four new nuclear power reactors in China today as its partner, Shaw, and Shandong Nuclear Power Company broke ground on the first unit at Haiyang.


The pre-construction milestone comes ten days after a ceremony to mark the readiness of a factory specifically designed for nuclear power plant component modules. Shandong Nuclear Power Construction Group built the facility, which has the capacity to support the construction of two AP1000s each year, in just 11 months.


Haiyang nuclear power plant is planned to eventually host eight large advanced reactors, of which only two have so far been contracted from Westinghouse and Shaw. The new manufacturing facility is local to Haiyang in Shandong province, but also to the Weihei and Hongshiding sites which are also expected to host two advanced reactors each.


In order to expand construction horizons and speed work on site, the latest reactors are designed to be made in prefabricated modules that can be transported and fitted as a whole after production at factories like the new one in Shandong. Located near the sea, the components and modules from the plant could be taken to any new nuclear site in China, and potentially the rest of the world.


Shandong said the new 71,000 square metre factory includes a cutting workshop, a pipeline workshop, a paint shop and a workshop for containment vessels (the steel liners that lie within the overall reinforced concrete reactor containment).


Large components for the Haiyang units have already been contracted: Doosan Heavy Industries of Korea is making the reactor pressure vessels and steam generators, while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan and Harbin Boiler Works of China will supply the steam turbines. For Westinghouse's other pair of AP1000s at Sanmen the steam generators and reactor pressure vessels will be made in China by either Harbin, First Heavy Machinery Works or Shanghai Electric.


First concrete at Haiyang - the official start of construction - is expected in September 2009, with commissioning of the first unit about 36 months later.