Technology firsts for China’s Harbin Electric Corporation

6 April 2016

China's first 300MWe nuclear reactor cooling pump, developed by Harbin Electric Corporation is ready for mass production after being approved by the China Machinery Industry Federation. Previously, China had depended on imports for key components of pressurized water reactor nuclear power plants. The cooling pump was tested for 200 hours of continuous operation under automated high-temperature and high-pressure conditions. Harbin said the pump - which took six years to develop - completed flow assessment tests in April 2015 and hot function tests on 8 March.

Harbin also announced that factory acceptance tests for the main motor of the helium fan for use in China's HTR-PM high-temperature gas-cooled reactor has been successfully completed. Work began on two demonstration HTR-PM units at China Huaneng Group's Shidaowan site in December 2012. The demonstration plant's twin HTR-PM units will drive a single 210 MWe turbine. It is expected to begin operating around 2017.

Harbin said the vertical HTR helium compressor motor, with a rated power of 4,500kW and a rated speed of 4,000 rpm, completed factory acceptance tests by Tsinghua University on 21 March. During the tests, the motor was operated at the maximum speed of 4,200 rpm and was tested for noise and vibration. "The main performance indicators show the helium fan motor can be manufactured to completely meet the technical specifications and design requirements." Harbin noted.

The HTR-PM features pebble bed fuel and helium coolant. The purpose of the helium fan is similar to the main circulation pump in a pressurized water reactor: to provide sufficient flow of coolant during the reactor's start-up, operation and shut down to take away the heat generated by the reactor core.

Tsinghua University developed electromagnetic bearings for use in the helium fan. The bearings use magnets to 'levitate' the fan's rotor, which weighs some 4t. The rotor is wear-free because it operates without any contact with other parts, avoiding the need for a lubricating oil system. The university said this is the first time electromagnetic bearings have been used in a nuclear reactor application.

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