China Approves Four New Nuclear Reactors
China’s State Council this week approved the construction of two more units at each of the Tianwan and Fangchenggang nuclear power plant sites.
In an executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, the State Council agreed that it is important to speed up the construction of hydropower, nuclear power and other clean energy projects.
The council gave its approval for units 5 and 6 of the Tianwan nuclear power plant in Jiangsu province. These units will feature 1080 MWe ACPR1000 reactors and will be 50% owned by China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), 30% by China Power Investment and 20% by Jiangsu Guoxin Asset Management Group.
It also approved the construction of two Hualong One reactors as units 3 and 4 of the Fangchenggang plant in Guangxi province. These units are owned 61% by China General Nuclear (CGN) and 39% by Guangxi Investment Group.
Construction permits must be issued by the National Nuclear Security Administration before building of the new units can officially begin.
According to a State Council statement, the meeting “stressed the need to strengthen project investment, construction quality and operation management of nuclear power projects, which must adhere to high standards and strict requirements to ensure safety”.
New Tianwan units
Construction of Tianwan 5 and 6 was originally scheduled to start in early 2011. However, following the March 2011 accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, the Chinese government suspended the approval of new nuclear power projects. The Tianwan Phase III units were amongst those suspended.
Tianwan Phase I – units 1 and 2 – was constructed under a 1992 cooperation agreement between China and Russia. First concrete was poured in October 1999, and the units were commissioned in June 2007 and September 2007 respectively.
Tianwan Phase II – units 3 and 4 – will be similar to the first stage of the Tianwan plant, comprising two Russian-designed 1060 MWe VVER-1000 pressurized water reactors. First concrete for unit 3 was poured in December 2012, while construction of the fourth unit began in September 2013.
Construction of the first two units – both CPR-1000s – at the Fangchenggang plant began in July 2010. The loading of fuel into the core of unit 1 was completed on 6 September this year and it achieved first criticality on 13 October. It was connected to the grid on 25 October. Unit 2 is scheduled to begin operation next.
A total of six reactors are planned to operate at the Fangchenggang site. Units 3 and 4 are planned to be based on Hualong One reactors, and units 5 and 6 are to be AP1000s.
CNNC has already started construction of unit 5 of its Fuqing nuclear power plant in Fujian province based on its version of the Hualong One design. CGN has earlier said it plans to start construction of Fangchenggang units 3 and 4 – for which its own version of the reactor design has already been approved – later this year.
Fangchenggang 3 and 4 will be the reference plant for the proposed Bradwell B plant in the UK. CGN has agreed to form a joint venture company with EDF Energy to seek regulatory approval for a UK version of the Hualong One design.