China reports progress on AP1000 units

18 October 2016

Progress is continuing at two Chinese plants with Westinghouse-designed AP1000 reactors. In September 2007, Westinghouse and its partners the Shaw Group received authorization to construct four AP1000 units in China: two at Sanmen in Zhejiang province and two more at Haiyang. Sanmen unit 1 is expected to be the first AP1000 to begin operating later this year followed by Haiyang 1.

The four reactor coolant pumps at unit 1 of the Haiyang NPP in Shandong province, another, have been operated simultaneously at full speed for the first time, State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) announced on 12 October. The plant is scheduled to begin operating by the end of 2016. Cold hydrostatic tests of the primary circuit were successfully completed at Haiyang 1 on 2 July. The tests, which involve increasing the pressure within the primary circuit to 21.6 MPa and maintaining it at that level for 11 minutes, aimed to confirm the integrity and sealing of the circuit's components.

Hot tests of the reactor's primary circuit were officially launched on 20 September. Tests have subsequently been carried out with the pumps operating at 24%, 50% and 88% speed. On 9 October, all the pumps were operated at full-speed for two hours with the water in the reactor coolant system at a temperature of around 275°C. The pumps were then taken back down to 50% speed.

SNPTC announced in September that the four main pumps at Sanmen 1 had been operated continuously at full speed for five hours as part of the unit's start-up. The company said that, at full-speed, the pumps' vibration, stator temperature and bearing temperature were within the normal range.

A contract was signed on 10 October for the civil construction of the nuclear islands for units 1 and 2 of China’s Xudabao NPP in Liaoning province. These will be the first of six AP1000 reactors planned for the site. The contract was signed by China Nuclear Industry 22 Construction Company (CNI22) and China Nuclear Power Engineering Company (CNPEC) CNI22 is a subsidiary of China Nuclear Engineering and Construction Corporation (CNECC), and CNPEC is a subsidiary of China General Nuclear.

China's National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) announced its approval of the site selection for Xudabao units in April 2014. Final approval was reported in September 2014, and again in December 2015 by the NNSA.

Site preparation began in November 2010. The National Development and Reform Commission gave its approval for the project in January 2011 but after the Fukushima accident China suspended the approval process for new plants, and in October 2012 announced that approvals for inland plants would be delayed until after 2015.

Parts that had been intended for the Taohuajiang plant in Hunan province - where four AP1000 units are planned - were subsequently earmarked for Xudabao. Manufacture of the steel containments for the first two Xudabao units was launched in July 2013 by Shandong Nuclear Power Equipment Manufacturing Co Ltd. China National Nuclear Corporation subsidiary Liaoning Nuclear Power Company Limited - set up in March 2009 - is majority owner of the plant, with China Datang holding a 20% stake and the State Development and Investment Corporation holding 10%. CNPEC is the general contractor for the Xudabao project, which is expected to cost some CNY110bn ($16bn).

Meanwhile, concreting of the containment dome was completed at unit 3 of the Tianwan NPP in Jiangsu province on 9 October, China Nuclear Engineering and Construction announced on 14 October. The company said the milestone marks the successful conclusion of the main construction of the unit. The Russian-supplied VVER-1000 is scheduled to start up in 2018.



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