World's fourth Hualong One unit attains full power

04 April 2022

Unit 3 of the Karachi nuclear power plant in Pakistan - a Chinese-supplied Hualong One reactor - reached 100% capacity for the first time on 31 March. The 1100 MWe pressurised water reactor is currently undergoing power ascension testing prior to entering commercial operation.

Karachi units 2 and 3 (Image: CNNC)

Construction of Karachi 3, the second of two Hualong One units to be built near Paradise Point in the province of Sindh, began in May 2016. Hot functional testing of Karachi 3 - which simulate the temperatures and pressures that the reactor systems will be subjected to during normal operation and are carried out before loading nuclear fuel - was completed ahead of schedule on 4 November last year. It achieved first criticality on 21 February and was connected to the grid on 4 March.

Various performance and commissioning tests have since been carried out at power levels of 25%, 30%, 50%, 75% and 87% capacity, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) said.

Once testing at full capacity is completed, Karachi 3 will perform a 100-hour demonstration run, after which it will enter commercial operation.

Karachi 2 entered commercial operation in May last year. The units are the first exports of CNNC's Hualong One, which is also promoted on the international market as HPR1000.

The Karachi site - also sometimes referred to as KANUPP - was home to Pakistan's first nuclear power reactor, Karachi 1 - a small 100 MWe (90 MWe net) Canadian pressurised heavy water reactor which shut down in 2021 after 50 years of operation.

The first domestic demonstration plants of CNNC's Hualong One design are Fuqing 5 and 6, in China's Fujian province. The units entered commercial operation in January 2021 and March this year, respectively.

Nuclear energy currently provides around 8% of Pakistan's energy mix from five reactors: four CNNC-supplied CNP-300 pressurised water reactors at Chashma in Punjab, and Karachi 2. CNNC in 2017 signed a cooperation agreement with the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission on the construction of a Hualong One as a fifth unit at Chashma.

In February, Nucleoel├ęctrica Argentina and CNNC signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract for the development of the Atucha 3 nuclear power plant. The plant, to be sited near Lima, about 100 kilometres north west of Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires, will use the Hualong One technology.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News