Second Chinese EPR achieves criticality

29 May 2019

Unit 2 of the Taishan nuclear power plant in China's Guangdong province has attained a sustained chain reaction for the first time, becoming the second EPR reactor to reach the commissioning milestone after Taishan 1.

The two EPR units at Taishan (Image: CGN)

Speaking on Europe 1 radio today, EDF chairman and CEO Jean-Bernard Levy said Taishan 2 had achieved first criticality yesterday.

Taishan 1 and 2 are the first two reactors based on the EPR design to be built in China. They form part of an EUR8 billion (USD9 billion) contract signed by Areva and China General Nuclear (CGN) 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 CGN.

Construction of unit 1 of the Taishan plant started in 2009, followed by that of unit 2 in 2010. These two units are the third and fourth EPR units under construction globally, after the Olkiluoto 3 project in Finland and the Flamanville 3 project in France. The EPR design adopted in Taishan was developed by Framatome. Two EPR units are also under construction at the Hinkley Point C project in Somerset, UK.

Taishan 1 achieved first criticality on 6 June last year and was connected to the grid on 29 June. It was declared to be in commercial operation on 13 December.

The loading of fuel into the core of unit 2 began earlier this month. The unit is expected to enter commercial operation by the end of this year.

Fuel is expected to be loaded into the first-of-a-kind EPR at Olkiluoto next month, with grid connection to take place in October, and the start of regular electricity generation scheduled for January 2020.

The loading of fuel into the core of the Flamanville EPR in France is expected towards the end of this year.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News