Main AP1000 pumps pass qualification tests

29 October 2015

Final performance testing and post-test inspections have been successfully completed for the reactor coolant pump for the first Westinghouse AP1000 reactor, under construction in China. The first two of four such pumps for Sanmen 1 will now be shipped from the USA to China by the end of the year.

AP1000 reactor coolant pump - 460 (Curtiss-Wright)
An AP1000 reactor coolant pump (Image: Curtiss-Wright)

In a joint statement, Westinghouse, Curtiss-Wright Corporation and China's State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) said, "Throughout the testing, the reactor coolant pump performance met the design requirements which are necessary to support safe and reliable AP1000 plant operation."

The final performance testing verified reactor coolant pump operation during a full range of AP1000 plant operating conditions for more than a total of 1600 hours, including more than 600 start-and-stop cycles. Extensive reviews by the Chinese regulator and detailed post-test inspections have almost been completed. Pump manufacturer Curtiss-Wright conducted the testing and inspection at its electro-mechanical division facility in Cheswick, Pennsylvania.

The successful completion of the tests and inspections means the first and second pumps for unit 1 of the Sanmen plant in China's Zhejiang province can be delivered to the site by the end of December. Fabrication and subsequent delivery of the third and fourth pumps for the unit can also proceed, as well as for the pumps for the seven further AP1000 units currently under construction in China and the USA.

Westinghouse senior vice president for new plants and major projects Jeff Benjamin said, "Conclusion of the reactor coolant pump testing program is a major milestone in the delivery of the world's first AP1000 plant." He added, "With the completion of this phase, we are now positioned for the next steps in providing our customers with a new generation of safe, clean, reliable energy."

"Designing and manufacturing the technically sophisticated and demanding AP1000 reactor coolant pump has been a close, collaborative effort," said SNPTC president Zhongtang Wang. "After seven years of hard work among Chinese and US companies and a rigorous regulatory review and strong support of the National Nuclear Safety Administration and the National Energy Administration of China, development of the reactor coolant pump has succeeded."

Each AP1000 employs four main reactor coolant pumps - each almost seven metres tall and 1.5 metres wide and weighing some 91 tonnes - which circulate reactor coolant through the core, loop piping and steam generators. The first two pumps for Sanmen 1 were manufactured by Curtiss-Wright and initially passed qualification testing in June 2012. However, final testing of a similar pump in January 2013 revealed potential quality problems. As a result of the problems, SNPTC decided to ship three of the four main pumps it had already received back to the USA for replacement of components including the impeller and guide vanes and factory re-testing.

Westinghouse is currently constructing four AP1000 units in China, two each at Sanmen in Zhejiang province and Haiyang in Shandong. Curtiss-Wright was awarded a contract by Westinghouse to produce 16 reactor coolant pumps for the units in 2007. Sanmen unit 1 is currently expected to begin generating electricity in September 2016.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News