28 March 2015

Fourth New Reactor Connected To Chinese Grid in 2015

Fourth New Reactor Connected To Chinese Grid in 2015

28 March 2015

China started up the fourth new reactor since the beginning of the year and operates now 27 units. Over the past year, the country advanced to rank four in the world for the number of nuclear reactors in operation. Only the United States, France and Russia still operate a larger nuclear fleet. With 22 more units under construction, China will likely soon also catch up with Russia’s 33-reactor fleet.

The Hongyanhe-3 reactor, located in Liaoning province in northeast China, was connected to the grid on 23 March 2015. Construction of the Generation II CPR-1000 reactor began in 2009, and is the third of four CPR-1000 reactors planned for the site. In addition, two “advanced” CPRs (ACPR) are planned under Hongyanhe Phase II. The Hongyanhe nuclear power plant is operated by the Liaoning Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Co. Ltd, which was established in 2006 by the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Co. Ltd., CPI Nuclear Power Co. Ltd. and Dalian Construction Investment Company.

In the month of March 2015 alone, China has connected three CPR-1000s to the grid. A range of safety issues have been raised in recent years over the design of the CPR-1000.

A total of 13 CPR-1000’s are now operational in China, with a further nine under construction, by far the most prolific reactor currently under construction worldwide. This Generation-II reactor is a modified version of the Framatome CPO/CP1/CP2 series of reactors which were built in France from 1970 (34 units in total). Modifications were made through the 900 series, however, in the words of French utility Électricité de France (EDF), the largest nuclear utility in the world: “Simply speaking, the equipments inside the plants of the same series are identical and they are laid out in the same manner. The only differences concern the foundations (for example, at Cruas, considering the site’s seismicity, the foundation raft had to be installed on a seismic bearing pad), the heat sink (certain units are cooled directly by the river, others use seawater or cooling towers) and the connection to the power grid.” The original design had been supplied to France under license from Westinghouse. In the 1980’s, Framatome/AREVA secured contracts for the building of the 900 series in China. The China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Corporation or CGNPC, which is part-owned by the State controlled China National Nuclear Corp, then adapted the design and labelled it the CPR-1000, described as a Generation II+ design.