Growth in China

28 September 2001

China is undergoing an ever-increasing demand for electric power, with an expansion planned to 450GWe by 2010. Three nuclear units with a total generating capacity of 2100MWe are currently in operation, and another eight units are under construction.

The two Daya Bay 900MWe units came on line in February and May 1994. Unit 1 achieved a load factor of 87.9% in the 12 months to March 2001, and a lifetime load factor of 69.4%. Daya Bay 2 achieved a load factor of 86.1% in the 12 months to March 2001, and a lifetime load factor of 77.4%. The Daya Bay contract was followed by the Ling Ao project, two 1000MWe units, where construction started in 1997.

The Ling Ao project

Construction of Ling Ao has proceeded according to schedule (see related articles below). Framatome ANP was responsible for supplying the nuclear island and associated services up to the start of commercial operation of the plant. The 23rd Corporation (C23), a Guangdong province construction company, is responsible for the erection of the nuclear island. Framatome ANP provided technical assistance through technology transfer.

One of the distinctive features of the Ling Ao project is that the equipment manufacturing was carried out in different regions of China. After two years, all the main components of Unit 2 were delivered to the site. In addition to the component localisation programme, Chinese teams took responsibility for most of the construction work.

The three steam generators and the pressuriser left the Dongfang boiler factory in Sichuan by road. They were then shipped by barge on the Yang Tse river to be delivered in Shanghai. From there, they were loaded by a floating crane.

The reactor internals were completed in Shanghai No 1 workshop and shipped in August 2000.

Xian 524, a manufacturing company in Shaansi province, delivered the main fuel handling system equipment for unit 2. China Nuclear Energy (CNE) Erzhong completed manufacturing its last equipment (handling equipment for internals and reactor vessel head) in November 2000.

Near Ling Ao, the joint venture company completed prefabrication of the auxiliary pipes for both units in July 2000. And CEMR, a Changzu company, completed feedwater and steam pipes prefabrication.

The goals for localised manufacturing of the Ling Ao nuclear island project were achieved on schedule and complied with international quality specifications. Through the technology transfer and close cooperation with Western companies, the Chinese companies were able to demonstrate their technical expertise and manufacturing capabilty. The Chinese companies are now prepared to take on a larger role in manufacturing components for the next nuclear project.

Three phases of Qinshan

Qinshan generates electricity for the industrial and densely populated area of Shanghai, 126km away.

Phase I of the project was the first indigenously designed, constructed and operated nuclear plant on China’s mainland. Construction of the 300MWe PWR started in March 1985 and put into commercial operation in April 1994. By the end of 2000 the unit had generated 14.6 billion kWh.

Pakistan’s recently-inaugurated Chashma plant is based on the design of Qinshan I. Its main components and equipment were made in China.

The Qinshan site is being developed to have five units, with a total installed capacity of 3000MWe. Qinshan phase II consists of two 600MWe PWRs designed and completely manufactured in China. Using the Daya Bay design, Qinshan II is scheduled to take six years to complete. The first concrete was poured in June 1996, and is planned for commercial operation in June 2002 and April 2003.

Phase III is being implemented with close cooperation between China and Canada. Chinese engineers are trained at Gentilly 2 in Canada to give them experience on a CANDU reactor in preparation for the completion of Qinshan III. Concrete was poured for the first unit of Qinshan III in June 1998 and the two units are scheduled for commercial operation in March and November 2003.

Technology transfers

Technology transfers from Framatome ANP to Chinese institutes started as early as 1992 when the first technology transfer agreement was signed between Framatome ANP and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC). This agreement covered the technology of the whole nuclear island.

During the years following the signing of the agreement, Framatome ANP assisted Beijing Institute of Nuclear Engineering (BINE), Nuclear Power Institute of China (NPIC), both belonging to the CNNC, in the first implementation of this agreement. The Qinshan phase II design – from the preliminary design to the final detail – was the first project to take advantage of the technology transfer. To date, with technical assistance from Framatome ANP engineers and technicians, over 100,000 pages and over 10,000 drawings have been transferred, including the necessary computer codes.

Another technology transfer agreement was signed with Chinese General Nuclear Power Corporation in 1995, extending the scope of technology transfer in China to the fields of construction, startup, licensing and operation. This agreement also covers the design and fabrication of high-technology equipment, and is still in effect. In September 1997, a third technology transfer agreement was signed to assist C23 in the construction of Ling Ao to allow C23 to reach self-sufficiency.

In 1999, a large technology transfer was initiated for the 18-month fuel cycle, allowing China to reach self-reliance in fuel management.

The Qinshan II units (2 x 600MWe) were developed by CNNC based on the Daya Bay technology. Framatome ANP supplied the reactor internals, in-core instrumentation, parts of the CRDMs, hydro test pump, and other components. One set of reactor internals was produced in China.

Fuel technology transfer

The AFA 2G fuel technology transfer involved China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation (CNEIC) as contractual interface, NPIC as designer, and Yibin Fuel Plant (YFP) as manufacturer. As a result, YFP mastered the fuel manufacturing and provided Guangdong Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company (GNPJVC) with reliable products. Finally, the technology transfer for fuel has enabled the Yibin plant in Sichuan to supply all the reloads for the Chinese PWR units.

To reduce the kWh costs by shifting from annual to 18-month cycle operation, GNPJVC decided, at the end of 1998, to extend its cooperation with Framatome ANP. Therefore, a new fuel technology transfer covering design, licensing support and manufacturing was set up among Chinese partners and Framatome ANP.

AFA 3G fuel assembly meets the objectives of the GNPJVC: proven high performance, increased burn-up capability, thermal hydraulic operational margins, and the most economical solution.

The AFA 3G technology transfer allowed French and Chinese counterparts to visit each other’s countries, and provided friendly exchanges. This schedule included several steps:

• Early 1999. Preparation and transmission of comprehensive technical documents for design, licence, and maunfacture of the AFA 3G fuel assemblies.

• 1999. Coaching and training sessions for both design and manufacture.

• November 2000. YFP engineers successfully completed qualification testing, demonstrating that they were fully prepared to manufacture advanced fuel.

• 2001. YFP is ready to manufacture its two first AFA 3G reloads.

CNP1000 nuclear islands

In 1997, Chinese authorities expressed their desire to expand their nuclear industry development programme, and set the following conditions for constructing nuclear power stations.

• The technology shall be safe, reliable, proven and advanced.

• The Chinese industry shall achieve self-reliance.

• The localisation of engineering activities and equipment manufacturing shall progress quickly and reach a high level.

• The units shall be competitive with other sources of electric power.

To meet these requirements, Framatome ANP, EdF and Alsthom prepared a joint proposal to meet Chinese objectives through the construction of a series of CNP1000 nuclear islands.

The proposal relies on the experience the Chinese nuclear industry accumulated through the construction and operation of Daya Bay, design and construction of Ling Ao, and Qinshan phase II. The CNP1000 includes state-of-the-art technologies that ensure a high level of safety together with high plant availability, and flexibility to provide the means to compete in the electricity marketplace.

Among the main features incorporated in the CNP1000 design are the latest manufacturing technologies developed to increase the longevity of the main reactor components for a 60-year lifetime.

The advanced AFA 3G nuclear fuel assemblies proposed for CNP1000 benefit from the experience of the world’s largest R&D programme. These advanced assemblies satisfy Chinese objectives in terms of high burn-up (up to 60GWd/t) and economical long cycles (18-24 months). The combination of the CNP1000 built-in margins and the AFA 3G advantages will allow operational flexibility while providing the operator with remaining margins (exceeding 15%) as demonstrated by analyses.

The CNP1000 design will incorporate the most advanced and proven digital I&C system, and a fully computerised control room. This technology contributes to the improvement of plant economy and safety through easier and more effective operation.

Major improvements of the CNP1000 units, compared to French and Chinese units, will allow the operator to further increase its availability factor. These improvements ensure a very high level of safety as demonstrated by the probabilistic risk assessment that was performed by an EdF/Sofinel/Framatome ANP team. The assessment identified a core damage frequency significantly lower than the Chinese requirement.

The performance requirements are supported by proven efficient components and designs that will accrue long-term benefits. The technical features of the CNP1000 as well as Framatome ANP’s experience in China and increased strong industrial relationships ensure that CNP1000 offers China one of the most competitive production tools in today’s electricity market. China’s self-reliance and localisation objectives will be met.
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From Daya Bay to Ling Ao

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