China's National Nuclear Safety Administration has granted an operating licence for unit 4 of the Fangchenggang NPP in the Guangxi Autonomous Region. The 1180 MWe pressurized water reactor is one of the two demonstration Hualong One (HPR1000) reactors (3&4) built at the site by China General Nuclear (CGN). The units are 39% owned by Guangxi Investment Group and 61% by CGN.

First concrete was poured for the nuclear island of unit 3 n December 2015 and for unit 4 a year later. The initial start-up for Fangchenggang 3&4 were set for 2019 and 2020 but the schedule was delayed primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unit 3 achieved first criticality in December 2022 and began commercial operation in March 2023. Following receipt of its operating licence, unit 4 is expected to begin operation later this year. Unit 4 underwent hot functional testing in September 2023 prior to fuel loading.

Fangchenggang NPP is to host six 1000 MWe reactors. The first phase comprises two Chinese designed CPR-1000 units which began commercial operation in 2016. CGN said the Fangchenggang demonstration project is of “great significance” for the serial production of Hualong One reactor.

Image: The Fangchenggang 4 reactor unit (courtesy of CGN)