Fuel loading under way at first Pakistani Hualong One

02 December 2020

The process of loading a total of 177 fuel assemblies into the core of the Karachi 2 reactor in Pakistan began on 28 November, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) announced today. The Chinese-designed Hualong One reactor is scheduled for commercial operation next year.

The first fuel assembly is loaded into Karachi 2's core (Image: CNNC)

CNNC said the loading of fuel "marks the unit's entry into the nuclear commissioning stage, and lays a solid foundation for subsequent criticality and grid-connected power generation".

Karachi 2 and 3 are the first export of China's Hualong One design, promoted on the international market as the HPR1000. CNNC noted the construction of the project has also promoted the development of related industries in Pakistan, providing more than 10,000 jobs for the local area.

Construction of unit 2 began in 2015 and unit 3 in 2016. Installation of the reactor internals of Karachi 2 was completed in January 2019, while installation of unit 3's was completed in April this year. The units are scheduled for commercial operation in April 2021 and 2022, respectively.

Cold functional tests, carried out to confirm whether components and systems important to safety are properly installed and ready to operate in a cold condition, were completed at Karachi 2 in December 2019. The main purpose of those tests was to verify the leak-tightness of the primary circuit. Hot functional testing, which involves increasing the temperature of the reactor coolant system and carrying out comprehensive tests to ensure that coolant circuits and safety systems are operating as they should, was completed on 4 September. Hot testing simulates the thermal working conditions of the power plant and verifies that nuclear island and conventional equipment and systems meet design requirements.

Four Hualong One units - Fuqing 5 and 6 in Fujian province and Fangchenggang units 3 and 4 in Guangxi province - are expected to be connected to the Chinese grid by the end of 2022. Fuqing 5 was connected to the grid on 27 November, having achieved first criticality on 21 October. 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.

General Nuclear Services - a subsidiary of EDF and China General Nuclear - proposes to use the HPR1000 at a prospective new nuclear power plant in Bradwell, England.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News