Three Chinese units approach operation

04 July 2016

Three new nuclear power reactors in China have recently reached significant milestones toward their operation. First criticality has been achieved at Fuqing 3 and Fangchenggang 2 - both CPR-1000s - while cold hydrostatic tests have been completed at the Haiyang 1 AP1000.

Fuqing 3 first criticality - 460 (CNNC)
Fuqing 3's control room (Image: CNNC)

Unit 3 of the Fuqing plant in China's Fujian province achieved a sustained chain reaction for the first time on 3 July.

China National Nuclear Corporation's (CNNC's) Fuqing plant will eventually house six Chinese-designed PWRs, the first four being 1087 MWe CPR-1000 pressurized water reactors. Unit 1 started up in July 2014, was connected to the grid the following month and entered commercial operation in November. Unit 2 achieved first criticality in July 2015 and entered commercial operation last October.

Ground was broken in June 2009 for Fuqing unit 3 and 4. Containment pressure tests were successfully completed at unit 3 last August. The loading of all 157 fuel assemblies into the reactor core of Fuqing 3 was completed on 4 April. Unit 3 is expected to begin operating later this year following the completion of a series of commissioning tests, while unit 4 is scheduled to start up in 2017.

China's State Council gave final approval for construction of Fuqing units 5 and 6 in mid-April. First concrete was poured for the fifth unit in May 2015, while that for unit 6 was poured in December. These will be demonstration indigenously-designed Hualong One reactors.

The Fuqing nuclear power plant project is owned by CNNC subsidiary China Nuclear Power Company (51%); Huadian Fuxin Energy Company (39%); and Fujian Investment and Development Group (10%).

Fangchenggang 2 first criticality

Unit 2 of China General Nuclear's (CGN's) Fangchenggang plant in Guangxi province also recently achieved first criticality. The CPR-1000 first achieved a sustained chain reaction at 1.48pm on 28 June in a test that lasted just over 17-and-a-half hours.

Fangchenggang is located near Hongsha village in the Guangxi Autonomous Region, about 45 kilometres from the border with Vietnam. A total of six large pressurized water reactors are planned to operate there. Units 1 and 2 are both CPR-1000s, units 3 and 4 will feature Hualong One reactors, and units 5 and 6 are to be AP1000s.

Construction of the first two units at the Fangchenggang plant began in July 2010. Unit 1 was connected to the grid last October. The loading of fuel assemblies into the core of unit 2 was completed on 24 May. The reactor is scheduled to enter commercial operation by the end of this year.

Construction of Fangchenggang 3 began in December 2015, while construction of unit 4 is scheduled to begin later this year. These two units are expected to start up in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The plant is 39% owned by Guangxi Investment Group and 61% owned by CGN.

Haiyang 1 hydro tests

Cold hydrostatic tests of the primary circuit were successfully completed at unit 1 of the Haiyang plant in Shandong province on 2 July.

Haiyang 1 hydro test - 460 (CNECC)
Workers celebrate the completion of hydro tests at Haiyang 1 (Image: CNECC)

The tests, which involve increasing the pressure within the primary circuit to 21.6 MPa and maintaining it at that level for 11 minutes, aim to confirm the integrity and sealing of the circuit's components.

Similar tests at unit 1 of the Sanmen plant in Zhejiang province were completed on 25 May. Sanmen 1 is expected to be the first Westinghouse AP1000 to begin operating, in September, while Haiyang 1 is expected to begin operating by the end of the year.

Four AP1000 reactors are being built in the USA - two each at Vogtle and Summer - while three AP1000s are also proposed for the Moorside site in the UK.

Westinghouse senior vice president for new plants and major projects Jeff Benjamin said, "Our projects around the world are building momentum for the AP1000 plant program with scalable and repeatable processes that offer an efficient, standard delivery platform for the growing AP1000 plant fleet. Successful tests like cold hydro at both Haiyang and Sanmen, as well as the recent module placement at our US site at Plant Vogtle, add a level of predictability in plant construction, commissioning and start-up for customers."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News