Unit 2 of South Korea’s Shin Hanul NPP has achieved first criticality, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) announced.

Shin Hanul 2 received an operating licence from the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission in September and underwent a preliminary inspection. This was followed by the loading of 241 fuel assemblies and high-temperature functional tests. Shin Hanul 2 will now undergo performance tests and is expected to begin generating electricity on 20 December. Following further tests it is scheduled to begin full-scale commercial operation in the first half of 2024.

Ground breaking for the first two units at the Shin Hanul (formerly Shin Ulchin) site took place in 2012. First concrete for unit 1 was poured the same year and for unit 2 in 2013. First concrete for unit 1 was poured for unit 1 in 2012 and for unit 2 in 2013. Shin Hanul 1 achieved first criticality in May 2022 and was connected to the grid the following month. The 1350 MWe pressurised water reactor (PWR) began commercial operation in December 2022.

Shin Hanul 1&2, are APR1400 reactors. Others are operating at Saeul units 1&2 (formerly Shin Kori 3&4) with units 3&4 under construction. Earlier in December KHNP selected a consortium led by Hyundai Engineering & Construction for the construction of the main facilities at Shin Hanul 3&4 which will also have APR1400 reactors. Once in operation, Shin Hanul 2 will be South Korea's 28th nuclear power reactor.

Image: Units 1 and 2 at the Shin Hanul nuclear power plant in South Korea (courtesy of KHNP)