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Three western reactors headed for startup in China

  • Unit 1 of the Sammen nuclear power plant, a Westinghouse AP1000, located in China’s Zheiang province, has achieved first criticality
  • Unit 1 of the Haiyang nuclear power plant, a Westinghouse AP1000, located in China’s Shandong province, is loading its first fuel – 157 assemblies
  • Unit 1 of the Taishan nuclear power plan, an Areva EPR, located in China’s Guangdong province, will be connected to the grid in July and enter revenue service in the next 90 days

Westinghouse AP1000s

The first operating Westinghouse AP1000s are expected to enter revenue service by the end of this year. Sammen 1 has achieved it s first criticality. It will gradually increase power and be synchronized to the grid. Hot testing was completed in 2017. Fuel was loaded in the core in late April 2018.

Westinghouse also announced that hot tests were completed on Sammen 2 in January 2018 with fuel loading and first criticality as well as connection to the grid all scheduled for 2018.

Haiyang 1 began fuel loading this week. It is expected to start operating this year. Haiyang 2 is expected to start up in 2019.

Construction of all four reactors began in the 2009/2010 period.

Areva EPR

The first of two Areva EPRs is running and will be connected to the grid in July according to the Chinese nuclear safety agency. It achieved criticality on June 6, 2018.

The world’s first European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), in China’s Guangdong province, will be connected to the external power grid next month and will go into full operation in the third quarter of the year, China’s nuclear safety body said this week

The agency told Reuters that the plan is to connect with the external power grid in July and achieve full-power operation in the third quarter.

According to World Nuclear News the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) said;

“Since 2013, NNSA has organized a total of over 400 person-years of various professional review missions, reviewed 13 technical documents – such as the final safety analysis report for Taishan 1 and 2 – and held four nuclear tests.”

NNSA noted that it invited nuclear regulatory authorities from France, Finland and the UK, as well as representatives from the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, to witness inspections of Taishan 1.

Taishan 1 and 2 are the first two reactors based on the EPR design to be built in China. They are part of an EUR8.0 billion (USD$9.5 billion) contract signed by Areva and China General Nuclear (CGN) in November 2007.

The Taishan project – 140 kilometers west of Hong Kong – is owned by the Guangdong Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company Limited, a joint venture between EDF (30%) and CGN (70%).

China to Open University in Tianjin to Train Engineers for the Nation’s Nuclear Power Industry

(SCMP) Beijing plans to set up another university dedicated to nuclear power technology to address a chronic skills shortage as the country tries to develop its nuclear energy industry and reduce its reliance on coal.

China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), a state-owned nuclear power developer and operator, has signed a strategic cooperation agreement to establish a nuclear industry university with master’s and doctorate programs.

CNNC said it wanted to set up a “corporate university” to train more specialized talent and fill the huge personnel gap in the nuclear industry.

A spokesman for CNNC said the existing nuclear-related university programs “cannot satisfy the demand for talent” in fields such as nuclear power, uranium enrichment, and spent fuel management.

CNNC has also signed strategic cooperation agreements on training with at least nine other Chinese universities. Chinese colleges with nuclear technology program include Tsinghua University, Peking University and Xian Jiaotong University.

Wang Yinan, a researcher with the State Council’s Development Research Centre, told state-run tabloid Global Times that the lack of qualified personnel in the industry would threaten China’s nuclear power security.

“China has many nuclear power projects and will continue to develop, which has led to a severe shortage of nuclear talent in power plant design, engineering construction, operations and security control,” Wang said.

In addition to constructing its own nuclear power plants, China has also exported the technology to countries involved in its “Belt and Road Initiative”, including building three nuclear reactors in Pakistan. Two or three more are planned to be build in the UK and a deal is in in place that may result in building one on Argentina.

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