China General Nuclear (CGN) has said that unit 3 at its Fangchenggang NPP in Guangxi Autonomous Region will begin operation in first half of 2023, postponed from the second half of 2022. Fangchenggang 3 is the first of two demonstration Hualong One (HPR1000) reactors under construction at the site. In an announcement published on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange website, CGN Power said: "The company has recently made an overall evaluation of the construction of the Fangchenggang unit 3 in order to realise the high-quality operation of the first reactor of the demonstration projects of HPR1000 technology of the company and to ensure the long-term safe and stable operation of the unit when put into operation."
It added: “After due consideration, it has been decided to adjust the expected time of commencement of operation of Fangchenggang unit 3 to be the first half of 2023. Fangchenggang 3 obtained an operation permit on 25 November 2022 and completed the first fuel loading … on 28 November. At the date of this announcement, Fangchenggang 3 is in the commissioning phase.”
CGN said it would “continue to coordinate resources and strengths from all parties and strengthen the control and management of the safety, quality, progress, investment and other aspects of the project, with an aim to promote the completion of commissioning work, smooth grid connection and commencement of commercial operation of Fangchenggang 3. The Company will make announcements on the latest progress of the construction of the unit in a timely manner in accordance with the applicable rules.”
Fangchenggang is 39% owned by Guangxi Investment Group and 61% by CGN. First concrete was poured for the nuclear island of Fangchenggang 3 in 2015 and for Fangchenggang 4 in 2016. Unit 3 was originally expected to start up in 2019 followed by unit 4 in 2020 but these dates were subsequently postponed until 2022. Fangchenggang 1&2 are domestic CPR-1000s and already in commercial operation.
In January, CGN said start-up of Fangchenggang 3&4 had been put back due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Operation of unit 3 had been put back to the second half of 2022 and of unit 4 to the first half of 2024. CGN is also building two Hualong One units at Taipingling in Guangdong, as well as two the San'ao site in Zhejiang. It has also started construction of the first of two Hualong One units at the Lufeng plant in Guangdong.
China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) already has two units operating using its version of the Hualong One design at the Fuqing NPP in Fujian province. Unit 5 began commercial operation in January 2021 followed by unit 6 in March this year. CNNC is also building two Hualong One units at the Zhangzhou plant in Fujian province, and two at Changjiang in Hainan. The two former rival companies have been encouraged by the government to work together and are now jointly developing the Hualong One, which is a 1100MWe Generation III pressurised water reactor based on CGN's ACPR-1000 and CNNC’s ACP-1000 designs.
Image: The Fangchenggang plant site (courtesy of China General Nuclear)