China’s Hongyanhe 5 achieves first criticality

22 June 2021

Unit 5 of the China's Hongyanhe nuclear power plant in Liaoning province on 16 June achieved first criticality. The 1080MWe Chinese-designed ACPR1000 pressurised water reactor is expected to be connected to the grid later this year, prior to beginning commercial operation. In January 2020, China General Nuclear (CGN) announced that operation of Hongyanhe 5 would be delayed until the second half of 2021, a year later than originally scheduled, and that startup of unit 6 would be put back by six months to the first half of 2022.

The decision was taken after plant operator Liaoning Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Company (LHNP) - a joint venture between CGN (45%), State Power Investment Corporation (45%) and the Dalian Municipal Construction Investment Co (10%) - completed an assessment of the construction-related risks for the units, and "after due consideration", decided to "adjust the construction plan of the project".

Hongyanhe 5 and 6 (Phase II of the NPP project) comprises two 1080MWe CGN-designed ACPR-1000 reactors, which began construction in March and July 2015. The ACPR-1000 is a three-loop reactor design with double containment and core melt trap launched by CGN in November 2011. However, in 2012 China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and CGN, were instructed to coordinate their reactor programmes. CNNC's ACP1000 and CGN's ACPR-1000 were then standardised as the Hualong One (HPR1000).

Yangjiang 5&6 were the first ACPR-1000 units to enter commercial operation, in July 2018 and July 2019, while units 5&6 of the Tianwan NPP are also ACPR-1000 units. Tianwan 5 began commercial operation in September 2020 and Tianwan 6 warlier in June 2021. 

Phase I at Hongyanhe (units 1-4) are CPR-1000 pressurised water reactors. Construction began in 2009. Hongyanhe 1&2 began operation in 2013 and 2014, Hongyanhe 3 in 2015 and Hongyanhe 4 in 2016.

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