Construction starts on Hongyanhe 5

30 March 2015

China has resumed construction of new nuclear power plant projects after a hiatus of 15 months. Construction of the fifth unit of the Hongyanhe plant in Liaoning province began yesterday.  

Hongyanhe 5 first concrete - 460 (CNEC)  
Construction gets under way at Hongyanhe unit 5 (Image: CNEC)  

The pouring of first concrete for the reactor's basemat marks the official start of construction of the unit, the first of two that will form the second phase of the Hongyanhe plant. A total of some 4452 cubic meters of concrete will be poured to complete the foundation slab of the unit, plant constructor China Nuclear Engineering Corporation (CNEC) said.

Plant owner China General Nuclear (CGN) received approval from the National Development and Reform Commission on 10 March to build Hongyanhe units 5 and 6 - both CGN-designed ACPR1000 reactors - marking the first approval for new reactors in four years. The company aims to have both units in operation by 2021.

The Hongyanhe site already hosts four CPR-1000 units. Units 1 and 2 have been in commercial operation since June 2013 and May 2014, respectively. Units 3 was connected to the grid on 23 March, while unit 4 is also scheduled to start up this year.

According to CGN, once all six units are in operation, the Hongyanhe plant will generate around 45 billion kWh of electricity annually, avoiding the need to burn more than 16 million tonnes of coal for power generation and the resulting emissions of some 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Just days after the Fukushima accident in Japan in March 2011, China's State Council decided to halt approvals and licensing for new reactors until a safety plan was in place and there was assurance that existing plants were adequately designed, sited, protected and managed. It also suspended work on four approved units - Fuqing units 4, 5 and 6, and Yangjiang unit 4 - due to start construction in 2011. The Shandong Shidaowan HTR-PM project, although ready for first concrete, was also delayed. Power generation continued at reactors in operation at the time, as did construction of the 25 units then approved.

The last Chinese power reactor to begin construction was unit 6 of the Yangjiang plant in Guangdong province, first concrete for which was poured in December 2013.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News