Changjiang 2 attains first criticality

14 June 2016

The second unit of the Changjiang nuclear power plant on China's southern island province of Hainan has achieved a sustained chain reaction for the first time. The reactor is expected to enter commercial operation later this year.

Changjiang 2 first criticality - 460 (CNNC)
 Changjiang 2's control room (Image: CNNC)

The 650 MWe CNP-600 pressurized water reactor achieved first criticality at 4.10 pm on 9 June, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) announced today. The milestone was witnessed by representatives from China's National Nuclear Safety Administration, it said.

Initial approval for the Changjiang plant's construction was granted by the National Developmental and Reform Commission in July 2008. Early site works began in December 2008. Construction of unit 1 began with the pouring of first concrete on 25 April 2010, while that for unit 2 was poured on 21 November 2010. Changjiang 1 achieved first criticality on 12 October 2015 and entered commercial operation in December. The loading of the 121 fuel assemblies into the core of unit 2 was completed on 12 May.

The plant, near Hoi Mei Tong village in China's Hainan province, is being built as a joint venture between CNNC and China Huaneng Group, with shares split 51% and 49%, respectively. The plant will eventually comprise four units, with units 3 and 4 housing either CNP-650 or ACP-600 reactors. Construction of both those units is scheduled to begin by 2018.

CNNC has said that the first two Changjiang units will together provide almost one-third of the electricity needs of Hainan. By using nuclear power instead of coal-fired generation, the units will avoid the emission of about 7.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, it claims.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News