Excavation work starts early for Sanmen 1

27 February 2008

[Xinhua, 27 February] Excavation work started on 26 February for the first reactor at the site of the Sanmen nuclear power plant in Zhejiang province, China. Zhao Hong of the State Nuclear Power Technology Corp (SNPTC) said, "The excavation started one month earlier than the original plan thanks to the support from all sides." The unit will be the first to use Westinghouse's AP1000 technology. Builders are excavating a hole measuring 12 metres deep and more than 20 metres in diameter, which Scott Shaw of Westinghouse confirmed to World Nuclear News would be for the basemat of the nuclear island, including the reactor and containment. Pouring of first concrete for the plant would start in March 2009, said Shaw. Sanmen 1 is scheduled to enter commercial operation in August 2013. In July 2007, Westinghouse signed definitive contracts for the construction of four AP1000 reactors in China. Two are to be built at Sanmen, while the other two are for Haiyang, in Shandong province. Construction at Haiyang is also set to start later this year. Sanmen 1 will be the first AP1000 to enter operation worldwide. Twelve AP1000s are at various stages of planning in the USA and more are mooted for other countries.