First criticality achieved at Chinese EPR

07 June 2018

Unit 1 of the Taishan nuclear power plant in China's Guangdong province has attained a sustained chain reaction for the first time, becoming the first EPR reactor to reach the commissioning milestone. The unit is expected to enter commercial operation later this year.

Taishan units 1 and 2 - 460 (CGN)
Taishan units 1 and 2 (Image: CGN)

"The Taishan EPR has just had its first chain reaction and has therefore started," Xavier Ursat, EDF group senior executive vice president, new nuclear projects and engineering, said on his official Twitter account yesterday. "This is excellent news for the entire nuclear sector." Although no official statement has yet been issued confirming the milestone, both EDF and Framatome re-tweeted his comment.

Taishan 1 and 2 are the first two reactors based on the EPR design to be built in China. They form part of an EUR8.0 billion (USD9.5 billion) contract signed by Areva and China General Nuclear (CGN) in November 2007. The Taishan project - 140 kilometres west of Hong Kong - is owned by the Guangdong Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company Limited, a joint venture between EDF (30%) and CGN.

Construction of Taishan units 1 and 2 began in 2009 and 2010, respectively. CGN began loading fuel assemblies into Unit 1's core on 10 April following the issuance that day of a permit from the regulator, the National Nuclear Safety Administration. Taishan 1 is expected to start power generation later this year, while Taishan 2 - which is in the equipment installation phase - is scheduled to begin operating next year.

Taishan 1 was the third EPR unit to begin construction, in November 2009. It followed Finland's Olkiluoto 3 in August 2005 and France's Flamanville 3 in December 2007. Those units are at similar levels of development - Olkiluoto 3, the first-of-a-kind EPR, has completed hot functional tests and is preparing to load fuel, while fuel loading at the Flamanville EPR is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of this year.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News