First Hualong One begins commercial operation

01 February 2021

Following a demonstration run lasting 168 hours, unit 5 of the Fuqing nuclear power plant in China's Fujian province entered commercial operation on 30 January, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has announced. The unit is the first of two demonstration Hualong One reactors at the site and is the world's first Hualong One to be commissioned. Unit 6 is scheduled to begin operation by the end of this year.

Fuqing unit 5 (Image: CNNC)

"The success marks a milestone for the development of China’s nuclear power, making China the fourth country to master its indigenous Generation III nuclear power technology following the USA, France and Russia," CNNC said.

Yu Jianfeng, chairman of CNNC, said that the corporation will accelerate the progress of mass construction of Hualong One reactors and develop new series technologies in a bid to promote the Hualong One in export markets and to achieve the target of carbon neutrality.

According to CNNC, the electricity output from each Hualong One unit avoids the consumption of 3.12 million tonnes of coal and the resulting emission of 8.16 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, and is equivalent to planting over 70 million trees each year.

China's State Council gave final approval for construction of Fuqing units 5 and 6 in April 2015. The pouring of first concrete for unit 5 began in May that year, marking the official start of its construction. Construction of unit 6 began in December the same year. The inner dome of unit 5 was installed on the containment building in May 2017, with the outer dome installed in January 2018.

Hot testing at Fuqing 5 was completed on 2 March last year. China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment issued the operating licence for the unit on 4 September. The reactor achieved first criticality - attaining a sustained chain reaction for the first time - on 21 October. It was connected to the electricity grid on 2 November.

Construction of two demonstration Hualong One (HPR1000) units is also under way at China General Nuclear's Fangchenggang plant in the Guangxi Autonomous Region. Those units are expected to start up in 2022. CNNC has also started construction of two Hualong units at the Zhangzhou plant in Fujian province, plus the first of two units at Taipingling in Guangdong.

Two HPR1000 units are under construction at Pakistan's Karachi nuclear power plant. Construction began on Karachi unit 2 in 2015 and unit 3 in 2016; they are scheduled to enter commercial operation in 2021 and 2022.

With the start of commercial operation of Fuqing 5, CNNC now has a total of 23 nuclear power reactors in operation with a combined generating capacity of 21.4 GWe.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News