Sixth Hongyanhe unit enters commercial operation

24 June 2022

Unit 6 of the Hongyanhe nuclear power plant in China's Liaoning province has entered commercial operation, China General Nuclear (CGN) has announced. The unit is the second of two ACPR-1000 reactors built as Phase II of the plant.

A worker in the control room of Hongyanhe 6 (Image: CGN)

At 9.35pm on 23 June, the 1061 MWe domestically-designed pressurised water reactor completed a series of commissioning tests, including a test run lasting 168 hours, CGN said. Although the company must still obtain necessary permits and documentation, the unit can now be considered to be in commercial operation.

Construction of Phase I (units 1-4) of the plant, comprising four CPR-1000 pressurised water reactors, began in August 2009. Units 1 and 2 have been in commercial operation since June 2013 and May 2014, respectively, while unit 3 entered commercial operation in August 2015 and unit 4 in September 2016.

Phase II of the Hongyanhe plant - units 5 and 6 - comprises two ACPR-1000 reactors. Construction of unit 5 began in March 2015 and that of unit 6 started in July the same year. Unit 5 achieved first criticality in June last year and entered commercial operation on 31 July.

The loading of the fuel into unit 6 began on 25 March this year and was completed on 28 March. The reactor achieved first criticality on 21 April and was connected to the grid on 2 May.

CGN noted that, with all six units now in full operation, the Hongyanhe plant has become China's largest nuclear power plant in operation and the third largest in the world, with a total installed capacity of more than 6.71 million kilowatts.

The annual power generation of the six units at Hongyanhe can reach 48 billion kWh, CGN said, accounting for about 20% of the total electricity consumption in Liaoning province. Compared with coal-fired power plants of the same scale, it is equivalent to reducing the consumption of standard coal by over 14 million tonnes, thereby reducing carbon dioxide emissions by about 40 million tonnes.

The Hongyanhe plant is owned and operated by Liaoning Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Company, a joint venture between CGN and State Power Investment Corporation, each holding a 45% stake, with the Dalian Municipal Construction Investment Co holding the remaining 10%.

Following the start of commercial operation of Hongyanhe 6, the number of power reactors in operation managed by CGN has increased to 26 units and its installed nuclear generating capacity has increased from 28,261 MWe to 29,380 MWe.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News