Construction at Sanmen within a month

02 March 2009

An engineering contract was signed last week towards building the Sanmen AP1000s. Real construction work should begin within one month on the nuclear power reactors.


The ceremony was held at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing and saw China's State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC), China National Nuclear Company and China Nuclear Engineering and Construction Corporation agree terms for the work, which will be overseen by Westinghouse and its partner, Shaw.


Sanmen in February 2009

The current state of the Sanmen site


The result will be the first Westinghouse-designed AP1000 pressurized water reactors in the world, ahead of the others at Haiyang in Shandong province and more expected in the UK and the USA. Site preparation at Sanmen in Zhejiang province is well advanced, with basic excavations completed early in September last year. Now the engineering, procurement and construction contract has been signed off construction work can begin in earnest, SNTPC said. An official 'groundbreaking' ceremony is to be held on schedule before the end of March.


Chinese planners have tasked SNPTC with a three-stage program for mastering AP1000 technology. The first is to introduce the advanced reactor successfully; the second is to 'assimilate' it and master its construction using domestic expertise and manufacturing capacity; the third is to 're-innovate' the design, which could see it engineered to produce more power than its current 1100 MWe.


The AP1000 is to be one of two designs built en-masse in China. The other is the CPR-1000, itself derived from French reactors imported for the Daya Bay nuclear power plant in the 1980s. China has a range of power reactors including Candu-6s from Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd and VVER-1000s from AtomStroyExport. Two Areva EPRs are planned, as are two more VVER-1000s.