China’s second EPR achieves criticality

3 June 2019

Taishan nuclear plant (Credit: EDF)Unit 2 at China’s Taishan nuclear plant Guangdong province, a Generation 3 EPR, achieved first criticality on 28 May, six months after Taishan 1 became the first EPR unit in the world to begin commercial operation.

Construction of Taishan 1 started in 2009, followed by unit 2 in 2010. Taishan 2 is now set to become the second EPR to enter commercial operation. Fuel loading began earlier in May, and it is expected to start commercial operation by the end of this year.

Taishan 1&2 each have a gross capacity of 1755MWe (1660MWe net), and together will be capable of generating 24TWh of electricity a year. They form part of an €8billion ($9 billion) contract signed by France’s Areva and China General Nuclear (CGN) in November 2007. The Taishan project is owned by the Guangdong Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company Limited, a joint venture between EDF (30%) and CGN.  EDF noted that the Taishan project has benefited from 35 years of cooperation between EDF and CGN, which started with the construction of China’s first commercial nuclear plant at Daya Bay.

EPRs under construction at unit 3 of the Flamanville NPP in northern France, at unit 3 of the Olkiluoto NPP in Finland are both facing delays and cost overruns. Welding issues discovered last year forced EDF to delay the start up date for Flamanville 3 to the second quarter of 2020. Construction of Olkiluoto 3 began in August 2005, and it is almost ten years behind schedule. EPRs are also under construction at Hinkley Point C in the UK as a joint project between EDF (66.5%) and CGN  (33.5%).   

CGN and EDF also intend use the EPR technology for a nuclear plant at Sizewell C in southeast England.

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