First fuel produced for Chinese EPR

11 March 2013

The first fuel assemblies for unit 1 of China's Taishan plant have been produced by Areva. The EPR unit - the first of two currently under construction at the site - is expected to begin operating next year.

An EPR reactor core consists of 241 fuel assemblies, comprising over 63,850 fuel rods. Areva said that it has now completed the first of three production campaigns for Taishan 1's fuel assemblies  at its plant in Romans, France. The fuel will be delivered to the plant in 2014. Areva said that as it is a new type of fuel, the company had faced additional engineering and production challenges.

Areva CEO Luc Oursel commented, "We can all be proud to have achieved this milestone. I would like to congratulate all the Areva employees who have worked on this project, from assembly design to component supply, and production of the final assemblies."

Taishan 1 and 2 are the first two reactors based on Areva's EPR design to be built in China and form part of an €8.0 billion ($10.4 billion) contract signed by Areva and the Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (CGNPC) 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 CGNPC.

First concrete for unit 1 was poured in October 2009, with the dome of the reactor building being lowered into place on top of the containment building in October 2011. In January 2013, Areva announced that installation of the heavy components - the reactor pressure vessel, the four steam generators and the pressurizer - had been completed within the reactor building. At that time, the company said that the construction of the unit had "entered a significant new stage."

Unit 1 should begin operating in 2014, with unit 2 following in 2015. Two further EPRs are planned for the site.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News