Pakistan on 28 November began loading fuel into the Chinese-built Hualong One reactor at unit 2 of the Karachi NPP ready for testing in run-up to its commercial operation in April 2021, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) announced.
CNNC said loading the 177 fuel assemblies "marks the unit's entry into the nuclear commissioning stage, and lays a solid foundation for subsequent criticality and grid-connected power generation".
A spokesperson for the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) said fuel loading started after obtaining a permit from the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority.
Construction of Karachi 2 began in August 2015. It is one of two 1100MW Hualong One units being built at the site. Karachi 3 is expected to become operational by the end of 2021. Construction of the units has remained largely on schedule despite the Covid-19 pandemic. The fuel loading was witnessed by Director General of the Strategic Plan Division Lt Gen Nadeem Zaki Manj, PAEC Chairman Mohammad Naeem and senior Chinese and Pakistani officials.
Cold functional tests were completed at Karachi 2 in December 2019 and hot functional testing was completed last September. Karachi 2 and 3 are China's first exports of Hualong One reactors, promoted on the international market as the HPR1000.
In China, four Hualong One units – Fuqing 5 and 6 in Fujian province and Fangchenggang units 3 and 4 in Guangxi province – are scheduled for grid connection by the end of 2022. Fuqing 5 was connected to the grid in November CNNC is also constructing two Hualong units at the Zhangzhou plant in Fujian province and two units at Taipingling in Guangdong.