Western nuclear reactors set startup dates in China

Areva and greenlight_thumb.jpg Westinghouse announce startup dates in 2017 for a total of six nuclear reactors in China representing almost 8 Gwe of nuclear generating capacity

  • Areva announced that construction is complete on the first of two 1660 MW EPR nuclear reactors in the Chinese city of Taishan. Installation of equipment is proceeding on the second unit. Both reactors are expected to start operations in 2017.
  • Westinghouse announced the schedule for first fuel loading for the first of four 1150 MW AP1000 nuclear reactors. It is scheduled to start by the end of 2017 in Zhejiang Province on China’s east coast. Three other units are expected to start operations the same year.

Areva EPRs to start operations in China

Despite having EPRs under construction in Finland and France, the first two 1660 MW EPRs to enter revenue service will be in China. Construction of Taishan No. 1 began in November 2009, while Taishan No. 2 started in April 2010. Both units are now slated to begin operations in 2017. The announcement follows a delay while tests were conducted on the quality of the steel in the reactor pressure vessels in France. The RPVs in China were forged in that country and were not affected by the issue of high carbon in the reactor pressure vessel lid component.

Areva said on its website that lessons learned from the Finnish and French projects allowed the firm, and its Chinese partners, to shorten the build time by 40 months. The supply chain for the reactors includes both French and Chinese firms. The power station is located about 90 miles from Hong Kong.

  • Spent fuel plant construction to start in 2020

While Areva has not announced any new EPRs for China beyond the first two, the French state-owned firm is in technical and financial negotiations with its Chinese partners to build a $15 billion spent fuel reprocessing plant. World Nuclear News reported in September 2015 that the construction of a spent fuel processing and recycling facility in China is expected to begin in 2020 and be completed by 2030.

China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and France’s Areva signed an agreement in November 2007 for an 800 tonne/year reprocessing plant for spent fuel in China. The plant would be operated by Areva based on its technology. The China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) said that it selected a site for the facility in Gansu province.

In addition to the reprocessing plant, the site will include an interim storage spent fuel facility with the capacity to hold 3000 tonnes of fuel from China’s commercial nuclear reactors. A high-level liquid waste vitrification facility is also planned to deal with radioactive liquid waste from plant operations.

Disposal of high-level nuclear waste is slated to take place in a geologic repository at one of three candidate locations in the Beishan area of Gansu province and will be completed by 2020. All of the sites are in granite rock formations.

According to a report by the Xinhua news agency, some 23,500 tonnes of used fuel will have been generated from China’s pressurized water reactors (PWRS) by 2030. Given the storage and processing capacity of the planned Areva plant, a significant inventory of China’s spent fuel will remain stored at the reactors that generated it until the reprocessing plant can take it.

Westinghouse AP1000 gets ready for start in China

The firm announced the upcoming milestone of the first loading of fuel in the Westinghouse AP1000 under construction at Sanmen Nuclear Power Plant in Zhejiang. The Sanmen Unit 1 is expected to be the first AP1000 to begin operating in 2017. A second unit also at Zhejiang, and two other AP1000s at the Haiyang Nuclear Power Plant in Shandong, are also expected to come online in the next two years.

Delays in construction were attributed to supply chain issues, notably with the reactor coolant pumps, and the need to address safety issues that arose in the post-Fukushima era.

Westinghouse has significant ambitions to supply its AP1000 reactors for additional Chinese reactor sites and to supply components and engineering expertise for larger versions of the AP1000.

  • CAP1400 slated for export markets

Westinghouse has agreements to work with the State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) to develop a larger design, the CAP1400 of 1400 MWe capacity, possibly followed by a 1700 MWe design. China will own the intellectual property rights for these larger designs. The Chinese nuclear safety agency has approved the CAP1400 design to be licensed for construction and operation.

The first Chinese project to build two CAP1400 units is in Shidaowan which is also home to China’s work on high temperature gas cooled reactors. In 2015 site preparation started on the first 1400 MW unit. The State Nuclear Power Technology Corp (SNPTC) will lead the effort.

As one of China’s 16 strategic projects under its National Science and Technology Development Plan, the CAP1400 is intended to be deployed in large numbers across the country. SNPTC also plans to propose the CAP1400 for export. (see more on this below)

China expected to pursue bidding for third nuclear power station in Turkey

Turkey’s energy ministry announced March 16 that it will begin the process to request bids on its third nuclear power station to be located on the western coast of the Black Sea. The project is expected to be at a scale of 5 Gwe and cost $22-25 billion. China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corp (SNPTC) is expected to partner with Westinghouse to propose the CAP1400 reactor for the project.

The Turkish Energy Ministry has identified Igneada in Kirklareli province on the Black Sea, 12 km from the Bulgarian border, as the site for its third nuclear power station. Export of electrical power to nearby countries is one of the objectives of the project.

According to the World Nuclear Association, in November 2014 the Ministry signed an agreement with the State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) of China and Westinghouse to begin exclusive negotiations to develop and construct a four-unit nuclear power plant. The agreement also covers all lifecycle activities including operations, nuclear fuel, maintenance, engineering, plant services and decommissioning.

Turkey has two other nuclear power station projects in development. They are one at Akkuyu on Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coast being built by Rosatom (4 1200 MW VVER) and another at Sinop on the Turkey’s nothern Black Sea site at Sinop (4 1100 MW Atmea) to be built by a joint venture of Mitsubishi and Areva.

Chinese firms establish Hualong joint venture

A long mating process has finally produced a joint venture by two of China’s largest nuclear state-owned corporations to export a single design of the 1000 MW Hualong One PWR type reactor. China General Nuclear (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) will each hold a 50% equity stake in the effort. The intent is to export the reactor, which is also being build for domestic use, to countries such as the UK (Bradwell) and Argentina. Both countries have preliminary MOUs in progress for the new reactor design.

So far six Hulalong One reactors are slated to be built in China. The commitment to domestic use is clearly intended to be a signal to international customers of the confidence the two firm have in the design.

Overall, China hopes to build at least 30 units for global customers. However, Sun Qin, President of CNNC, told the China Daily on March 3 that the joint effort faces very significant competition. He cited South Korea, which is building four 1400 MW units in the United Arab Emirates and Rosatom, which has been very aggressive in signing nuclear export deals.

Sun told the China Daily 70 countries in total are already planning or developing their own nuclear power projects, with an estimated 130 more nuclear power units to have been built by 2020.

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2 Responses to Western nuclear reactors set startup dates in China

  1. Pingback: Western nuclear reactor designs gain traction in China - Neutron Bytes - Pro-Nuclear Power Blogs - Nuclear Street - Nuclear Power Plant News, Jobs, and Careers

  2. SteveK9 says:

    The French and Finn constructors can still be ashamed. Chinese construction was no longer ‘learning’ from them when they moved ahead on the construction timetable. The difference in time frames is amazing. 13 years for Olkiluoto, 8 for Taishan.

    Turkey shot itself in the head, when Erdogan decided to ambush a Russian fighter to protect the illegal oil trade with IS. Russia hasn’t canceled, but I wouldn’t expect them to be in a rush any longer. Turkey was receiving 100% financing from Russia. Anyone else thinking of doing business in a country that is becoming its own Islamic State, might want to exercise caution.


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