First criticality for Shin Kori 3

05 January 2016

Unit 3 of South Korea's Shin Kori nuclear power plant achieved a sustained chain reaction for the first time on 29 December. It becomes the country's 25th operable power reactor.

Shin Kori 3 first criticality - 460 (KHNP)
Workers celebrate first criticality at Shin Kori 3 (Image: KHNP)

Shin Kori 3 - construction of which began in October 2008 - is the first Korean-designed Advanced Pressurised Reactor-1400 (APR-1400) to start up.

Having been issued with an operating licence for the unit by the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission on 30 October, Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) began loadingĀ 241 fuel assemblies into the reactor on 4 November.

Following first criticality, commissioning tests will now be conducted. These tests involve checking the unit's performance as its output is gradually increased to full capacity. Hot functional tests will also be carried out to ensure the reactor's primary circuit is working correctly at normal operating temperatures and pressures. Further tests will check the unit's performance in various abnormal operating conditions. Once these tests are successfully completed, the unit will enter commercial operation.

Unit 4 at Shin Kori - also an APR-1400 - is expected to start operating in early 2017. Unit 3 had originally been due to begin operating at the end of 2013, with unit 4 following in September 2014. However, their operation has been delayed by the need to test safety-related control cabling and its subsequent replacement.

Two more of the 1350 MWe pressurized water reactors are under construction as units 1 and 2 of the Shin Hanul site in South Korea. Those units are expected to enter service in April 2017 and February 2018, respectively.

Two further APR-1400 units are planned for both the Shin Kori and Shin Hanul sites.

Four more APR-1400s are under construction at Barakah in the United Arab Emirates. All four are scheduled to be in operation by 2020.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News