Installation of the containment vessel bottom head has been completed at unit 1 of China's Lianjiang NPP in Guangdong province, according to the State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC). The operation was completed in just over three hours.

The steel containment vessel comprises five modules – the bottom head, first cylinder ring, second cylinder ring, third cylinder ring, and top seal. The bottom head, with an inner diameter of more than 39 metres and a height of 11.5 metres, is the base of the steel containment vessel. It is made up of 64 arc-shaped steel plates welded together. The total lifting weight was about 850 tonnes, including supporting short columns, studs, attachment plates, and penetrations.

SPIC said this is the first nuclear-grade large-scale module hoisted into place in the first phase of the project, marking the start of full construction at the nuclear island reactor building for unit 1.

With a total investment of CNY130bn ($18.1bn), Lianjiang NPP is designed to have six CAP1000 pressurised water reactors, the first of which is scheduled to be operational in 2028. Phase 1 will comprise two units. Lianjiang is the State SPIC’s first coastal NPP in Guangdong Province. It is expected to run in conjunction with hydrogen plants and power storage stations in the area as part of an integrated energy base. It will be China’s first NPP to have a recirculating seawater cooling system super-large cooling towers.

Construction of the first two 1250 MWe CAP1000 reactors – the Chinese version of the Westinghouse AP1000 – at the Lianjiang site was approved by China's State Council in September 2022. Excavation works for the units began in the same month, with the pouring of first concrete for the foundation of unit 1 completed at the end of September. Lianjiang unit 1 is expected to be completed and put into operation in 2028.

Image: The containment bottom head for Lianjiang 1 is lowered into place (courtesy of SPIC)