Fourth Hongyanhe unit achieves first criticality

07 March 2016

Unit 4 of the Hongyanhe nuclear power plant in China's Liaoning province has achieved a sustained chain reaction for the first time. The reactor is expected to enter commercial operation later this year.

Hongyanhe 4 control room - 460 (SNPTC)
Hongyanhe 4's control room (Image: SNPTC)

The 1087 MWe CPR-1000 pressurized water reactor achieved first criticality at 10.43am on 5 March, plant constructor State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation announced today.

Construction of Phase I of the Hongyanhe plant, comprising four CPR-1000 pressurized water reactors, began in August 2009. Units 1 and 2 have been in commercial operation since June 2013 and May 2014, respectively. Unit 3 entered commercial operation last August.

Work on the nuclear island at Hongyanhe 4 officially began in August 2009. The dome of its reactor building was successfully lowered into place in September 2011.

China's National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) issued a licence on 15 January for fuel to be loaded into the reactor. That process was completed on 18 January. The NNSA conducted an inspection of Hongyanhe 4 on 25 February to confirm that the unit was ready for first criticality.

Trial operation of the reactor will now begin, during which many tests will be carried out. The unit is scheduled to enter commercial operation within the next few months.

Construction of Phase II of China General Nuclear's Hongyanhe plant - units 5 and 6 - started in March and July 2015, respectively. These units are scheduled to begin operating in 2019 and 2020.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News