Chinese units get their domes

10 October 2012

China continues to progress with its construction of new nuclear power reactors. Within the space of a couple of weeks, the milestone of installing the dome of the reactor containment building has been achieved at two more units - Fuqing 3 and Changjiang 2.

Fuqing 3 dome lifting (CNECC)
The dome of Fuqing 3 is installed in an early morning operation (Image: CNECC)

The reactor dome of unit 3 at the Fuqing nuclear power plant in Fujian Province was successfully lowered into place on top of the containment building at 5.48am on 9 October. Plant constructor China Nuclear Engineering and Construction Corporation (CNECC) said that the operation to install the reactor dome - with a diameter of 37 metres, a height of 11 metres and weighing 160 tonnes - took just 30 minutes.

Fuqing is to be a six-reactor plant, based on Chinese-designed CPR-1000 pressurized water reactors. The overall 6000 MWe project is expected to cost 100 billion yuan ($15.9 billion). Construction of Fuqing units 1 and 2 started in November 2008 and June 2009, respectively. Those units are scheduled to begin operating in October 2013 and August 2014.

Ground was broken for Fuqing unit 3 and 4 in June 2009 and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) held an official ceremony to mark the start of work on unit 3 in December 2010. The reactor should begin operation in mid-2015.

Changjiang 2 capped

Two weeks earlier, the reactor dome was also installed at unit 2 of the Changjiang plant in China's southern island province of Hainan.

Changjiang 2 dome lifting (CNECC)
Changjiang 2's dome is lifted off the ground (Image: CNECC)

The 173-tonne dome was successfully installed on the unit's reactor building at 9.26am on 25 September, CNECC reported. The operation - using crawler cranes with a lifting capacity of some 900 tonnes - lasted 48 minutes.

The Changjiang plant, near Hoi Mei Tong village, 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 650 MWe CNP-600 pressurized water reactors and will be built in two phases.

Initial approval for the construction was granted by China's National Developmental and Reform Commission in July 2008. Site works began in December 2008. Construction of Unit 1 began on 25 April 2010, while first concrete for unit 2 was poured on 21 November 2010. The dome of the reactor building of Changjiang 1 was installed on 28 December 2011, 28 days ahead of schedule. Changjiang 1 is scheduled to begin operating by the end of 2014, with unit 2 set to start up the following year.

The installation of the reactor building dome marks the end of the major civil engineering works on the reactor buildings. Changjiang 2 and Fuqing 3 are the fifth and sixth Chinese units, respectively, to have had their reactor domes installed since the start of 2012. The others include Taishan 2, Yangjiang 3, Ningde 4 and Fangchenggang 1.

Construction projects already underway should see China bring online some 27 new reactors by the end of 2015 - in addition to the 15 units currently in operation.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News