China starts building first Hualong One unit

07 May 2015

Construction has officially started on unit 5 of the Fuqing nuclear power plant in China's Fujian province, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) announced today. The unit will be a demonstration Hualong One reactor, a design the company aims to export.

Fuqing 5 first concrete - 460 (CNNC)
Construction gets under way at Fuqing 5 (Image: CNNC)

At 10.56am today, Liu Qi, deputy director of the National Energy Administration, announced to a gathering of dignitaries that the construction of Fuqing 5 had officially started, CNNC said. Eight concreting machines then proceeded to pump concrete into the unit's foundation pit.

The pouring of first concrete for the reactor's basemat marks the official start of construction of the unit, the first of two Hualong One units planned for the Fuqing plant.

Hualong One development

In 2012 central planners in Beijing directed CNNC and the other large nuclear builder and operator, China General Nuclear (CGN), to 'rationalise' their reactor programs. This meant CNNC's ACP1000 and CGN's ACPR1000 were 'merged' into one standardised design - the Hualong One.

In fact, each company has its own supply chain and their versions of Hualong One will differ slightly (units built by CGN will use some features from the ACPR1000), but the design is considered to be standardised. It is set for wide deployment in China as well as export to other countries.

CGN's version of the reactor design has already been approved for use at units 3 and 4 of its Fangchenggang site, although construction has yet to start.

In November 2014, CNNC announced that the fifth and sixth units at Fuqing will use the domestically-developed Hualong One reactor design, marking its first deployment. The company had previously expected to use the ACP1000 design for those units, but plans were revised in line with a re-organisation of the Chinese nuclear industry. China's State Council gave final approval for construction of Fuqing units 5 and 6 in mid-April.

Speaking at the first concrete ceremony today, Liu Qi said: "China occupies an important position in today's nuclear power development trend." He added, "Hualong One represents the Chinese people's wisdom of nuclear power, and we are willing to share new achievements in China's nuclear power technology. We look forward to Hualong One nuclear power technology being able to serve more countries, so that clean, green electrical power can bring steady economic growth for the benefit of local people."

Export potential

At a press conference yesterday, CNNC general manager Qian Zhimin discussed the company's plans to export the reactor design around the world. He said CNNC had already signed two export contracts for the Hualong One, as well as five cooperation framework agreements. The company is also establishing an "overseas market development system".

Zhimin also said that CNNC is "actively promoting" the Hualong One reactor in some 20 countries, including the UK, Argentina, Egypt and other countries in Europe, Latin America, Africa and South Asia.

Although it is still officially listed as being ACP1000, Pakistan's Karachi Coastal Power station is likely to be the first export Hualong One units. In February, China and Argentina agreed to cooperate on construction of a Hualong One reactor in the South American country.

China General Nuclear (CGN) said last month that it is preparing to apply for generic design assessment (GDA) by UK regulators of its version of the Hualong One design. In a 21 April statement, the company said that Bradwell in Essex could be a potential site for a Hualong One plant. CGN said a final investment decision on the project could be made by the end of this year.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News