Fuqing 5 under construction (Photo: FQNPC)China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) said that on 4 September, China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment had issued a licence for the operation of unit 5 at the Fuqing nuclear power plant in Fujian province to CNNC Fujian Fuqing Nuclear Power Co Ltd. Fuel loading began the same day.

Fuqing 5 is the first unit with a domestically-designed Hualong One reactor to reach fuel-loading stage. With the successful installation of the first group of fuel assemblies, nuclear commissioning has officially started.

The Hualong One has 177 fuel assemblies, which, CNNC said, reduces the core power density and improves the design safety level.

CNNC noted that, despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus work continues on the two Hualong One units under construction at Fuqing (units 5&6). “At present, project construction is progressing steadily, and safety and quality are well controlled,” CNNC said.

China's State Council approved construction of Fuqing 5&6 in April 2015. First concrete for Fuqing 5 was poured in May 2015 and Fuqing 6 the following December. The inner dome of Fuqing 5 was installed on the containment building in May 2017, with the outer dome in January 2018. Hot testing was completed on 2 March 2020 with operation expected to begin later this year, followed by operation of Fuqing 6 in 2021.

Currently five other Hualong One units are under construction in China. CNNC is building one (the first of two) at Taipingling in Guangdong and two at Zhangzhou in Fujian province. China General Nuclear (CGN) is building two at its Fangchenggang site in Guangxi province. In addition, two Hualong One units are under construction at Karachi in Pakistan, while CGN proposes to use a UK version of the Hualong One  at the planned Bradwell NPP in the UK.

Fuqing 5 under construction (Photo: FQNPC)