9 September 2016

China: Grid Connection for Fuqing‑3 and Construction Start on Tianwan‑6

China: Grid Connection for Fuqing-3 and Construction Start on Tianwan-6

8 September 2016

Grid connection for the CPR-1000 Fuqing Unit 3 reactor, located on the coast of Fujian Province, China, took place on 7 September 2016. A total of six reactors are planned for the site, with unit 4 also a CPR-1000 design, and Units 5&6, also called Hualong One, being ACP-1000 design. Fuqing-2 was connected to the grid in August 2015. Unit 3 startup is seven months late, as it was originally planned for operation in February 2016, while startup of Unit 4 is planned for March 2017.

Safety issues with the CPR-1000 design have been raised in recent years, including descriptions of it being obsolete, based as it is on a modified version of the Framatome 900 MW reactors, which were built in France between 1971 and 1987.

Construction and operation of the plant is a joint effort between CNNC (51 percent), China Huadian Corp (39 percent) and the Fujian Investment and Development Co. Ltd (10 percent). CNNC is the large state-owned enterprise under the direct management of the central government.

Also on 7 September 2016, construction began at the Tianwan nuclear power plant with the start of the pouring of basemat concrete for the 1080-MWe Unit 6 nuclear reactor, located on the Yellow Sea coast of Jiangsu province, in eastern China. Four reactors are now under construction at the Tianwan site. Tianwan reactor unit 5, construction of which began in December 2015, is due to enter commercial operation in December 2020 and reactor Unit 6 in October 2021.

Tianwan-5 and -6 are of the ACPR-1000 reactor design, which is a modified version of the CPR-1000. China General Nuclear (CGN) the reactor designer, announced the ACPR design in November 2011 stating that it had incorporated the lessons of Fukushima in meeting the standards of international third-generation nuclear power technology. Questions remain as to the safety revisions incorporated into the ACPR design and overall qualification by Chinese regulators following the Fukushima Daiichi crisis. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was requested to conduct a Generic Reactor Safety Review (GRSR) for the design concept for the ACPR-1000. This was completed in May 2013. The results have not been made public.

The Tianwan plant is owned and operated by Jiangsu Nuclear Power Corporation, a joint venture between CNNC (50%), China Power Investment Corporation (30%) and Jiangsu Guoxin Group (20%).

According to a 2012-survey of local public opinion, a majority (54%) expressed opposition to building nuclear reactors at Tianwan due to safety concerns.

Grid connection of Fuqing Unit 3 and the start of construction at Tianwan Unit 6 brings to 36 the number of reactors in operation in China, with 20 under construction.