China Greenlights Six New Nuclear Reactors

  • China Greenlights Six New Nuclear Reactors
  • Russia’s Mixed Prospects for Exports Due to Its Invasion of Ukraine
  • Update on Prospects for New Nuclear Power Plants in Poland
  • NuScale Spins Up Supply Chain for Major Reactor Components
  • Japan / JAEA And MHI Join Global Race To Generate Green Hydrogen From Nuclear

China Greenlights Six New Nuclear Reactors

greenlightThe Chinese government has given a green light to the construction of six full size MWe PWR type nuclear reactors at three coastal sites.

Four of the reactors, which are CAP1000s, are based on the 1150 MWe Westinghouse AP1000 design, and are located at;

  • Sanmen 3 & 4 – Zhejiang; to be built by CNNC
  • Haiyang 3 & 4 – Shandong; to be built by SPIC/SNPTC

Two additional reactors will be 1000 MWe Hualong PWRS One based on a French design.

  • Lufeng 1 & 2 – Guangdong; to be built by CGN

Westinghouse issued a press release calling the CAP1000s as being AP1000s, but while these units will have Westinghouse components, there will be significant localization for them.

According to Nuclear Engineering International, the CAP1000 is a licensed adaptation of the AP1000 with significant localization of nuclear components. Following is a brief summary of similarities and differences of the two design implementations based on this report.

The Westinghouse AP1000 is the main basis of China’s move to generation III technology, with four reactors built and commissioned at Sanmen and Haiyang, two each for for CNNC and CPI, respectively. SNPTC was responsible for the engineering, design and project management of these first AP1000 projects, which were built as part of a technology-transfer agreement with Westinghouse.

china nuclear plants map WNN

The next eight units (CAP1000s) will involve higher local content (the aim is for 80%), although they will still contain some key components from Westinghouse, including digital control systems, fuel and reactor internals. As part of the agreement, the Chinese supply chain takes an increasingly large share of reactor construction.

Overall, the World Nuclear Association (WNA)  notes differences in the CAP1000 from the AP1000 include conforming to Chinese design standard GB6429, construction management, supply chain technical requirements, post-Fukushima modification, and module design. The AP1000 design has undergone post-Fukushima enhancements, including addition of waterproof doors, 72-hour water supply, enhanced spent fuel pool level monitoring instruments, and an improved emergency command center

The fact that only four of these planned eight CAP1000s have been authorized so far leaves another four to be assigned to future sites. China’s list of planned new reactors is somewhat a work in progress as indicated by changes from time-to-time in assignment of specific reactor designs to various sites. WNA notes that it is likely that some planned CAP1000 will be displaced by the Hualong One which is also China’s export offering of a full size PWR. This shift will eventually end China’s reliance on Westinghouse for key components for these new reactors and strengthen resilience of the country’s supply chain.

The World Nuclear Association notes that China has become largely self-sufficient in reactor design and construction, as well as other aspects of the fuel cycle, but is making full use of western technology while adapting and improving it. Relative to the rest of the world, a major strength is the nuclear supply chain. China has 53 nuclear power plants as of the end of 2021 with total generating capacity of 55 GWe.

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Russia’s Mixed Prospects for Exports Due to Its Invasion of Ukraine

The question is raised whether Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and resulting western sanctions, will have any effect on Rosatom’s exports of Russian built nuclear reactors? So far the answer is not much. This could change over time. For now, here is a snapshot of selected known deals with various countries listed in order, more or less, of best prospects to worst.

Egypt claims an end is in sight for long running paperwork snarls related to issuing a construction permit later this year for the 1st of four 1200 MWe Russian built VVER nuclear reactors.  Rosatom is financing 85% of the project cost.

Turkey is proceeding with Rosatom’s new build of 4 1200 MWe VVER at Akkuyu on the Mediterranean coast. However, Rosatom has not been able to attract investors for a 49% equity stake.  Three of the four planned units are under construction with the first unit begun in 2018 planned to be completed in 2023 and each additional unit to follow by one year respectively. Turkey has plans for reactors at two other sites, but no vendors are committed to build at them.

The future of the Akkuyu project may be impacted by western sanctions that will prevent Rosatom from procuring key components for nuclear and non-nuclear systems. Examples include components for the steam systems, turbines, computer chips for sensors and computers for the control room, and transformers and other parts to connect the reactor to the grid.

Rosatom is doing well with India having commissioned 2 1000 MWe VVER at Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu; building 2 more, and planning 2 more. Separately, there is a plan for 6 similar units at Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh. Separately, India is building a fleet of 10 700 MWe PHWRs using an all India supply chain as the CANDU type units do not require the large forgings for reactor pressure vessels.

Rosatom has broken ground to build four VVER-1200 units in China – two at Tianwan (units 7&8), and two at Xudapu (units 3&4). China is providing the financing with Russia responsible for the nuclear island only indicating significant localization for turbines, switchyard, and grid improvements. Russia previously built Tianwan Units 1 through 4. Units 5 & 6 are CAP1000s / M310 PWRs based on a French reactor design. No further VVERs are on China’s list of planned new nuclear power stations.

Rosatom’s prospects in Poland and South Africa are mixed due to intense competition from other vendors complicated by the current inability of neither nation to pay for 50% of the costs.

  • Poland’s private sector is moving ahead of the government by funding several SMR initiatives. Currently Russia does not offer an SMR for export though it has several SMR initiatives for domestic use of them in Siberia. While the Polish government has ambitious plans to build six full size reactors, it hasn’t secured its domestic funding share for the effort.
  • South Africa is reported to be planning an tender for 2500 MWe of nuclear generating capacity, but until the government fixes Eskom’s financial woes, it is unlikely to release it. In 2014 Rosatom signed an agreement with the then South African government headed by then President Jacob Zuma to build eight 1200 MWe VVER which would have locked in the country’s energy security with Russia for the next 60 years. The deal fell apart due to conflicts within the government over charges of nepotism, secrecy and double dealing in the procurement process, and other related charges of high level corruption.

Rosatom was edged out of building a 1000 MWe VVER in Argentina by China’s Belt & Road program which will build a 1000 MWe Hualong One pending final financial terms. Argentina wants China to pay for the whole $8B including grid upgrades. So far China has only offered 50% financing.

  • Argentina has long term plans to build another CANDU type reactor at the Atucha site. Russia has no experience with PHWRs making it an unlikely bidder for the effort. China has two CANDU in revenue service and has previously proposed to partner with Canada’s SNC Lavalin for work on a CANDU project in Romania.

Russia and China have been banned from bidding on tenders for new nuclear reactors in Czech Republic and Romania on “security grounds.” The Czech Republic blames Russia for blowing up a military warehouse full of munitions bound for Ukraine. Both countries push back on Russia’s presumption that the two nations are “captive markets” for new nuclear power based on their prior history of being behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War era.

  • The Czech Republic has a current tender out for a single 1200 MWe PWR at Dulovany and plans long term to also build one or more new reactors at Temelin. Romania continues its long running effort to complete two PHWRs at Cernavoda.
  • The Romanian government signed an MOU with NuScale last Fall for SMRs. A spokesman for NuScale said this week the due diligence and work scope planning for it is ongoing.  No Romanian nor US government funds are committed at this time to build an SMR.

Finland suspended work in April 2022 on licensing a planned new build of a 1200 MWe VVER at Hanhikivi. Plus, no construction activity was impacted as the new build is still at the paperwork stage due to recurring regulatory compliance issues. Preliminary site work was complicated over expansion of the site’s boundaries.

  • Update 05/02/22 – (NucNet) Finnish nuclear energy consortium Fennovoima terminated its engineering, procurement and construction (EPC contract) with Rosatom citing “significant delays”, the company’s “inability to deliver the project,” and worsening risks as a result of the war in Ukraine. Rostom has not been able to complete the requirements to obtain a construction permit from Finland’s nuclear safety agency. In April 2021, Fennovoima said commercial operation of Hanhikvi-1 was likely to begin a year later than originally planned in 2029. It said total investment costs for the project had increased from €6.5-€7bn to €7-€7.5bn. It looks like a potential next step for this project is for Finnish nuclear utility Fennovoima to re-issue a tender for it.
  • Finland, which shares a long common border with Russia, and was invaded by that country in 1940, is sufficiently alarmed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that it is making plans to apply to join NATO. For energy security reasons, having Russia control a 1000 MWe nuclear reactor in country has become a non-starter.

Overall, Russia’s main problem for exports of full size nuclear power plants, VVER 1000 & 1200 MWe, is that the steel plates that are used to make reactor pressure vessels come from the Kramatorsk steel plant which is in a contested area of Donetsk, Ukraine. On April 9th Russian military forces attacked the railway station at Kramatorsk killing at least 50 people and injuring 100s more according to the BBC. It is not clear whether the steel plant itself has been damaged in the fighting. It isn’t clear that local Russian forces know the significance of the steel plant for Rosatom’s exports. Elsewhere in Ukraine, Russian forces have indiscriminately shelled industrial and civilian targets as part of the invasion.

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Update on Prospects for New Nuclear Power Plants in Poland

There is a lot of activity among vendors seeking to build new nuclear power plants in Poland. The offers range from small modular reactors to full size, e.g., 1000 MWe or larger, plants. Leading the pack is South Korea which submitted a proposal to build six full size reactors. Poland has not yet announced how it will pay for new full size reactors.

Korea Submits a Bid

Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power (KHNP) has made a “technical and price proposal” to Poland for the construction of six APR-1400 nuclear reactors by 2033.

The proposal called for “the construction of six APR1400 reactors with a total capacity of 8.4 GW, the first of which could start operation by 2033.

The Polish government noted that three nuclear energy suppliers have shown interest in the country’s program: Westinghouse, EDF and the South Korean KHNP. In addition to the Korean proposal just received, the country already has a proposal from EDF based on the EPR2 reactor design, and by September of this year, Westinghouse has to submit its proposal, which will be based on the AP1000.

Poland’s KGHM and TAURON to co-operate on SMRs

Polish companies KGHM and TAURON have signed a letter of intent regarding cooperation in the construction of small modular reactors (SMRs). KGHM is a copper and silver producer and large industrial energy user and TAURON is an energy company.

Under a contract signed earlier this year, KGHM with NuScale will implement the SMR technology in Poland. The first power plant is to be commissioned by 2029. Clean energy will power the production divisions of the copper company.

“We initiated the clean energy production project as one of the first in Poland. We have signed an agreement with an American partner [NuScale] and we are preparing investment analyses. The SMR technology will increase the cost-effectiveness of KGHM and transform the Polish energy sector. Together with TAURON, we will work and explore possibilities for further development,” said Marcin Chludzinski, President of the Management Board of KGHM Polska Miedz.

Pawel Szczeszek , CEO of TAURON Polska Energia, explained: “We strive to make modular nuclear reactors an important element of our target production mix. This will most likely be reflected in the new corporate strategy prepared in the Group. The cooperation established today with KGHM opens up this perspective for us.”

Bechtel Signs on with Polish Firms for Nuclear Work

Bechtel has signed Memorandums of Understanding with 12 Polish companies for the potential development of two new nuclear power plants in Poland. The projects could support construction of Westinghouse 1150 MWe AP1000s if Poland selects the company for this work.

In July last year, Westinghouse Electric Company announced the launch of front-end engineering and design (FEED) work under a grant from the United States Trade and Development Agency “to progress” the nuclear energy program in Poland.

Westinghouse said the FEED was one of the key elements in the implementation of the Intergovernmental Agreement between Poland and the USA regarding cooperation to develop a civil nuclear power program.

Westinghouse is executing the FEED, which will be based on AP1000 technology, together with Bechtel. The FEED study will be reviewed later this year by the Polish government to help in its selection of the best partner for the nuclear power plant program.

In January, Westinghouse signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with ten Polish companies for cooperation on the potential deployment of AP1000 nuclear power plants in Poland and elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe. The MoUs include cooperation on the possible construction of six AP1000 plants for the Polish nuclear power plant program.

The first nuclear unit is to be commissioned in 2033, with five more units to follow by 2040. The coastal towns of Lubiatowo and Kopalino in Poland’s Choczewo municipality have been named as the preferred location for the country’s first large nuclear power plant.

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NuScale Spins Up Supply Chain for Major Reactor Components

US developer of small modular reactors NuScale is having a busy week signing up partners and suppliers for its plans to deploy its SMRs in global markets

NuScale Power and Doosan Sign Agreement to Begin SMR Production

NuScale Power LLC and Doosan Enerbility Co., Ltd. announced through a signed agreement that Doosan will begin production of forging materials for NuScale’s Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) as early as 2022, with expectations for full-scale equipment manufacturing by the latter half of 2023. Specifically, Doosan, a Korean industrials and energy company, will begin production of forging dies for NuScale’s Upper Reactor Pressure Vessel, marking the start of NuScale Power Module (NPM) production.

Doosan completed a manufacturability review for the NPM in January 2021, which successfully established the manufacturing sequence and processes for the NPMs. Doosan is now working on NPM component prototype development. With this new agreement, Doosan will begin manufacturing of large forged materials used for NuScale’s SMRs in 2022 and expects to begin full-scale manufacturing of NPMs in the second half of 2023.

This milestone builds upon NuScale and Doosan’s existing relationship, which began in 2019 when Doosan made its initial equity investment in NuScale. Since then, Doosan has conducted an extensive multi-year effort, completing the design for manufacture of the NPM and performing manufacturing trials to reduce schedule risk and increase cost certainty.

NuScale Power Signs MOUs with GS Energy, Doosan, and Samsung on SMRs

NuScale Power LLC announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with its partners, Samsung C&T Corporation, Doosan Enerbility Co., Ltd., and GS Energy Corporation (“GS Energy”) to explore the deployment of NuScale’s VOYGR power plants. This announcement is a critical next step in bringing NuScale’s clean energy solution to Asia.

Along with financial support, Doosan, Samsung and GS Energy will lend their respective expertise to NuScale Power in areas such as component manufacturing, prior nuclear construction experience, and power plant operation. Doosan is a world-renowned nuclear pressure vessel manufacturer, Samsung is a trusted nuclear power plant contractor, and GS Energy brings more than 20 years of expertise as a power plant operator.

NuScale Power Signs Collaboration Agreement with the U.S. Reactor Forging Consortium

NuScale Power and the U.S. Reactor Forging Consortium (RFC), comprised of North American Forgemasters (NAF), Scot Forge, and ATI Forged Products, announced they have signed a Collaboration Agreement to leverage the existing robust forging supply chain in the U.S., to prepare NuScale to deploy its small modular reactor (SMR) technology to customers worldwide and to support, retain, and expand U.S. manufacturing jobs.

The RFC is the combination of highly qualified expert suppliers of nuclear-grade forgings for the worldwide nuclear industry. The combined three companies act as the only fully integrated manufacturer of large alloy and stainless steel open die, seamless rolled ring, and large uniquely-shaped forgings (heads with integral nozzles) in the Western Hemisphere with as-forged piece weights exceeding 160 tons.

Under the Collaboration Agreement, the RFC and NuScale will cooperate in design for manufacturability reviews for forged geometries to reduce welding, chemical composition tailoring and optimized configuration for fabrication. The collaboration will support the U.S. supply chain planning as NuScale approaches near term commercialization of the NuScale Power Modules™ (NPM).

Consortium member NAF is currently partnering with Pennsylvania-based Center for Advanced Nuclear Manufacturing, operated by Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC), on a full production size shell research project that will focus on the use of austenitic stainless steel for reactor and containment vessels in SMRs and advance reactors.

Financed in part by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Economic Development, NAF in collaboration with its joint venture owners Scot Forge and ELLWOOD Group, INC. will perform melting, forging, heat treating, rough machining, mechanical testing, and non-destructive testing while CTC oversees the development and performs independent technical evaluations of the forged material.

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Japan / JAEA And MHI Join Global Race To Generate Green Hydrogen From Nuclear

(NucNet) The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) are to establish a demonstration green hydrogen production project at the High-Temperature Test Reactor (HTTR) in Ibaraki Prefecture, north of Tokyo.

The project means Japan has joined a number of countries in the race to generate green hydrogen from a nuclear reactor, The plan is to produce large quantities of low-carbon energy for industry, transport and home heating.

Hydrogen production is classified using a color scheme. “Grey hydrogen” denotes hydrogen produced from fossil fuels. Most of the world’s hydrogen production is grey. Green hydrogen, such as that produced by nuclear reactors, is considered low-carbon.

JAEA and MHI have been commissioned to set up the project by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE) as part of Japan’s efforts to attain carbon neutrality in 2050.

ANRE launched a tender in February for a demonstration project for the use of the HTTR for the mass production of hydrogen. JAEA, which operates the HTTR, chose MHI, which is conducting technical studies on hydrogen production using nuclear reactors, as the main contractor for the project.

The HTTR is a graphite-moderated gas-cooled research reactor. It achieved first criticality in 1998. It was restarted in July 2021 after the Nuclear Regulatory Authority said it was compatible with new regulatory standards introduced after the 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident. The HTTR was shut down following the accident along with other Japanese reactors.

JAEA said the heat produced by the HTTR has applications for a range of purposes, including power generation, fuel performance and the desalination of seawater as well as hydrogen production.

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1 Response to China Greenlights Six New Nuclear Reactors

  1. Brian Nichols says:

    Incredible detail as usual. Thank you Dan!!

    Liked by 1 person

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