China tests Hualong One containment on world's largest test bed

4 July 2023

The China Nuclear Power Engineering (CNPE), part of the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) in co-operation with a team from Harbin Institute of Technology, has completed a structural performance test of a Chinese-designed Hualong One containment building in serious accident conditions.

The Xuanwu experimental platform, located at CNPE's research and development facility in Langfang City is the world's largest containment test bed. It is based on a 1:3.2 scale replica of Hualong One pre-stressed concrete containment shell, according to Professor Fan Feng, Vice President of Harbin University of Technology and Director of the Space Structure Research Centre (SSRC), who led the team of Harbin researchers.

It has now undertaken the world's first high-temperature and high-pressure coupling test, providing scientific reference as well as technological support in order to assess the structural performance of containment vessels in serious incidents. Team member and SSRC Deputy Director Zhi Xudong admitted that the test conditions were complex and difficult, and the preparation work for the experiment lasted three years. However, the test achieved several technological breakthroughs that will provide support for the research and development of next-generation nuclear power technology as well as the safe operation of in-service NPPs.

"At present, China leads the world in the number of NPP units under construction and the safe use of nuclear energy is a prerequisite for the development of nuclear power," said Fan Feng. "Nuclear containment, as the last barrier to protect the safety of nuclear power plants, faces various tests during its service period." He noted that the test bed, based on Generation 3 Hualong One technology was developed by China “with full independent intellectual property rights”.

Image: The scaled-down Hualong One containment (courtesy of CNNC)

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