Second APR-1400 unit starts commercial operation

02 September 2019

Unit 4 of the Shin Kori nuclear power plant entered commercial operation on 29 August, Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) announced today. Unit 3 of the South Korean plant became the first APR-1400 to begin supplying electricity to the grid in January 2016.

KHNP held a commemorative ceremony in the unit's main control room, attended by KHNP President Chung Jae-hoon (Image: KHNP)

KHNP completed cold hydrostatic testing and hot functional testing of Shin Kori 4 in November 2015 and April 2016, respectively. The loading of the fuel assemblies into the unit's core began on 7 February this year and the 1340 MWe pressurised water reactor (PWR) achieved first criticality - a sustained chain reaction - on 11 April. The unit was connected to the grid on 22 April, marking the start of its electricity supply. The power level of the reactor has since gradually been increased to full capacity during the commissioning process.

Following a successful full-power run, KHNP announced today that Shin Kori 4 has now begun commercial operation.

The company noted Shin Kori 4 alone will produce 10.4 TWh of electricity annually - equivalent to 11.5% of electricity sales in the nearby cities of Busan, Ulsan and Gyeongnam in 2018.

Construction of Shin Kori 3 and 4 was authorised in 2006, although the actual construction licence was not issued until April 2008. First concrete for Shin Kori 3 was poured in October 2008, with that for unit 4 following in August 2009. Unit 3 was originally scheduled to enter commercial operation at the end of 2013, with unit 4 due to start in September 2014. However, their operation was delayed by the need to test safety-related control cabling and its subsequent replacement.

Unit 3 eventually reached first criticality in December 2015, was connected to the grid in January 2016 and entered commercial operation in December that year.

The APR-1400 is a PWR designed by Korea Electric Power Company that KHNP said features improvements in operation, safety, maintenance and affordability based on accumulated experience as well as technological development. It supersedes the standardised 995 MWe OPR-1000 design, of which South Korea built 12.

Construction of two further APR-1400 reactors at Shin Kori - units 5 and 6 - began in April 2017 and September 2018 respectively. Unit 5 is scheduled to begin commercial operation in March 2022, with unit 6 following one year later. Two further APR-1400 units are under construction in South Korea as units 1 and 2 of the Shin Hanul site. A further four APR-1400s are under construction at Barakah in the United Arab Emirates, with the first of those units scheduled to begin operation next year.

Last week, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission certified the APR-1400, finding the design fully meets US safety requirements.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News