Fuel loading begins at South Korea’s Shin Hanul NPP

15 July 2021

Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) on 14 July began loading fuel assemblies into the core of unit 1 at its Shin Hanul NPP, five days after being granted an operating licence for the reactor by the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission. Approval for the 1,400MWe reactor in the coastal county of Uljin was granted provided further safety measures were put in place. The reactor was completed in April but has been off-line pending conclusion of a safety review, which began in November 2020. Unit 1, the first of two APR-1400 reactors at the site – is now scheduled to enter commercial operation in March 2022. The reactor will now undergo a trial run for some eight months, during which various tests will take place to check the operation of essential equipment under normal operating temperature and pressure conditions.

Ground breaking for the first two units at the Shin Hanul (formerly Shin Ulchin) site took place in May 2012. First concrete for unit 1 was poured two months later, with that for unit 2 following in June 2013. The reactors were originally expected to enter service in April 2017 and April 2018, respectively. Following delays, fuel loading in unit 1 had been scheduled for June 2019 but was delayed pending safety checks by the NSSC and some modifications. Commercial operation of unit 1 was then expected in July 2021, and unit 2 in May 2022.

The APR-1400 is an evolutionary pressurised water reactor with its origins in the CE System 80+ model. Principally designed by Korea Engineering Company, it produces 1400 MWe and has a 60-year design life. It supersedes the standardised 995 MWe OPR-1000 design, of which South Korea built 12. The APR-1400 features improvements in operation, safety, maintenance and affordability based on accumulated experience as well as technological development.

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