Chinese NPPs move forward

23 June 2016

A contract has been signed for the civil construction of the nuclear islands of Phase III of China's Tianwan NPP in Jiangsu province. Construction of unit 5 has already begun, while that of unit 6 is scheduled to start next year. The contract was signed by China Nuclear Power Engineering (a subsidiary of China Nuclear Engineering Corporation - CNEC) and China Nuclear Industry Huaxing (part of China National Nuclear Corporation - CNNC). The Tianwan plant is owned and operated by Jiangsu Nuclear Power Corporation, a joint venture between CNNC (50%), China Power Investment Corporation (30%) and Jiangsu Guoxin Group (20%).

Construction of Tianwan 5 and 6 was originally scheduled to start in early 2011. However, following the 2011 Fukushima accident, the Chinese government suspended the approval of new nuclear power projects including Tianwan Phase III. However, the latest Five-Year Plan calls for construction of Phase to be accelerated. The State Council gave its approval for Tianwan units 5 and 6 - both with 1,080MWe domestic design ACPR1000 reactors - in December 2015. Unit 5 is expected to enter commercial operation in December 2020 and unit 6 in October 2021.

Tianwan Phase I - units 1 and 2 - was constructed under a 1992 cooperation agreement between China and Russia and the units were commissioned in June and September 2007. Tianwan Phase II - units 3 and 4 - will be similar to the first stage of the Tianwan plant, comprising two Russian-designed 1,060MWe VVER-1000 pressurized water reactors (PWRs). These units are expected to start operation this year and next, respectively.

Also in June, CNNC announced that the second unit at the Changjiang NPP on the southern island province of Hainan, a 650MWe Chinese design CNP-600 PWR, had been connected to the grid. The unit achieved first criticality on 9 June following the completion of loading 121 fuel assemblies into its core on 12 May, and is scheduled to enter commercial operation in early August.

Initial approval for construction of the Changjiang plant was granted by the National Developmental and Reform Commission in July 2008. Construction of unit 1 began in April 2010 and it entered commercial operation in December.
The plant is being built as a joint venture between CNNC and China Huaneng Group, with shares split 51% and 49%, respectively. The plant will eventually comprise four units, with units 3 and 4 housing either CNP-650 or ACP-600 reactors. Construction of both is scheduled to begin by 2018.

Meanwhile, the Guangdong Provincial Government has replied to the local government regarding safety concerns about the Taishan NPP, which is to have two AREVA design Evolutionary Pressurised Reactors (EPRs). Guangdong said that mainland China has done thorough assessments of the project after safety concerns were raised in May when components of the plant were discovered to have been made in mainland China, rather than in France as previously thought.

The Government Information Bureau (GCS) published the response from the provincial authorities, which said the construction procedures, as well as materials for Taishan NPP, had been thoroughly examined by the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA). The safety assessment was in line with the standards required in France and Finland. The authorities said that the plant had been closely monitored by the NNSA since construction began in 2009. The authority said a total of 18 inspections, 58 specific check-ups and more than 700 examinations were performed on a daily basis. Links with France and Finland were strengthened in order to enhance the supervision of the Taishan project.

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