China General Nuclear Power (CGN has begun loading fuel at the first of two European Pressurised Reactors (EPRs) under construction at the Taishan NPP in China’s Guangdong province. CGN said in a notice on its official Wechat account that it was given formal approval to begin fuel loading at Taishan 1 by the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) on 11 April. NNSA confirmed that it had given its approval, noting that Taishan 1 become the world’s first EPR to go into operation. NNSA said it had conducted a five-year safety review of the Taishan project and dispatched on-site supervisors for the entire construction process. The project meets the design safety goals and the construction quality is good, it added.

China began construction of the two Taishan units in 2009 and 2010, with the first unit originally scheduled to be completed in 2013. They form part of an €8bn ($9.9bn) contract signed by Areva and CGN in November 2007.. CGN owns 70% of the project and French utility EDF 30%. The EPR technology designed by France’s Areva, has been subject to repeated delays, technical problems and cost overruns not only in China, but also at other sites in France and Finland. The UK’s Hinkley Point C reactor, jointly invested by CGN and EDF, will also use the EPR design.