China to start building 6-8 new nuclear reactors in 2018

Given its logistics and supply chain profiles, coastal sites are likely to be favored for these starts which will total 6 Gwe or more

enginestartChina’s National Energy Administration said in March that the country will announce sites for the start of new construction of six-to-eight new nuclear reactors. The decision ends a two-year freeze on new starts.

According to the World Nuclear Association (WNA) China’s 13th Five-Year Plan formalized in March 2016 included the following nuclear projects and aims:

  • Complete four AP1000 units at Sanmen and Haiyang.
  • Build demonstration Hualong One reactors at Fuqing and Fangchenggang.
  • Start building the demonstration CAP1400 reactor at Rongcheng (Shidaowan).
  • Accelerate building Tianwan Phase III (units 5&6).
  • Start building a new coastal power plant.
  • Active preparatory work for inland nuclear power plants.
  • Reach target of 58 GWe nuclear operational by end of 2020, plus 30 GWe under construction then.
  • Accelerate and push for building demonstration and large commercial reprocessing plants.

The most likely coastal sites for new projects are shown in the table below.

China Nuclear Coastal Sites

Data from World Nuclear Association – March 2018

For a complete review of reactor technologies in China, see Nuclear Engineering International for May 22, 2014 – Chinese reactor design evolution

WNA has published a map (large image) of China’s nuclear fleet updated March 2018.

In addition to the new starts, China plans to complete all of its Westinghouse 1150 MW AP1000s now under construction – 2 in Sanmen and 2 in Zhejiang.  Also, China plans to complete two 1650 MW Areva EPRs being built in Taishan.

Fuel loading for the Sanmen reactors has been delayed due to unspecified “safety concerns,” but given the milestone that has been pushed back, the issue may be with the fuel assemblies themselves. Another possible reason is that China’s version of the ITAAC, which is the final safety documentation check before fuel loading, may have had some deficiencies.

Indonesia Reports Progress with Small Modular Reactor Design

(WNN) Indonesia’s National Atomic Energy Agency (Batan) has launched a roadmap for developing a detailed engineering design for its Experimental Power Reactor (Reaktor Daya Eksperimental, RDE). The design of the country’s indigenous small modular reactor is expected to be completed later this year.

The detailed engineering design roadmap was announced on March 7th by Geni Rina Sunaryo, Batan’s director of nuclear reactor safety and technology.

The detailed engineering design document, together with the safety analysis report, will be an important requirement for it to achieve approval for the RDE design from the Indonesia’s Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency (Bapeten).

Batan said it aims to complete the RDE detailed engineering design this year by involving a consortium of Indonesian universities and private companies. It plans to have the first draft of the detailed engineering design ready for review in June 2018 by an expert mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“The detailed design means that the design is close to construction, and the ultimate goal is to determine how much the RDE will cost,” Sunaryo said.

The RDE is a very small sized pebble-bed high temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) with low enriched uranium oxide TRISO fuel.

The objective for the design and technology of the reactor is for it to be suitable for subsequent commercial use by utilities and independent power producers around the country, as well as for export.

Last year, Batan received a siting licence from Bapeten for the demonstration RDE reactor at its Serpong complex.

Batan is promoting the introduction of nuclear power plants in Indonesia to help meet the county’s demand for power. It envisages the start-up of conventional large light-water reactors on the populous islands of Bali, Java, Madura and Sumatra from 2027 onwards.

In addition, it is planning for the deployment of small HTGRs (up to 100 MWe) on Kalimantan, Sulawesi and other islands to supply power and heat for industrial use.

Thorcon Publishes Technical Details of  Its Floating Nuclear Power Plant

Thorcon announced in March that it has published on its web site the complete basic design of ThorConIsle, a 500 MW liquid fuel fission power plant. The floating plant is actually composed of two 250 MW units.

ThorConIsle is a complete 500 MW fission power plant, to be constructed in a shipyard, floated to a distant customer site, then settled to the seabed in shallow water.

Robert Hargraves, a spokesman for the firm, said in an email, “This design is well suited for the ThorCon prototype planned for the Indonesian archipelago, where testing could begin in 2022.”

He added, “ThorConIsle will generate electric power cheaper than coal-fired plants, using shipyard construction technology and high-temperature, low-pressure molten salt containing thorium and uranium fuel.”

According to the World Nuclear Association, in October 2015 Martingale (now ThorCon International) from the USA signed an agreement with the Indonesia Thorium Consortium – comprising state-owned companies PT Industry Nuklir Indonesia (INUKI), PT PLN and PT Pertamina – to build a ThorCon thorium molten salt reactor to generate electricity.

The firm is developing the ThorCon 250 MWe design, and aims to commission one there in the 2020s.

In March 2017 Pertamina, Inuki and PLN completed a preliminary feasibility study on the Thorcon proposal which was positive, and the consortium is now seeking approval from BATAN. Subject to this, construction would begin in 2019 for 2025 operation, as the first nuclear power plant in Indonesia.

The firm announced additional progress in 2017 based on meetings at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory and at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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