China’s first AP1000 fuel production line has now produced 64 sets of fuel assemblies ready for the first reloading of the Sanmen AP1000 units. Both Sanmen AP1000s are scheduled to begin operating later this year.
“The specifications of the components met the technical requirements and provide guarantee for the subsequent safe and stable operation of the Sanmen nuclear power plant,” China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) said today.
Westinghouse is providing the first cores and some re-loads for the four AP1000s under construction at Sanmen and Haiyang. However, China’s goal of self-sufficiency in nuclear fuel supply means it wants to manufacture as much as possible in future.
In a $35 million deal announced in January 2011, Westinghouse agreed to “design, manufacture and install fuel fabrication equipment” for CNNC subsidiary China North Nuclear Fuel, with the aim of supplying subsequent fuel for the Sanmen and Haiyang units as well as the country’s future fleet of AP1000s.
Construction of the AP1000 fuel line – which has the capacity to produce 400 tonnes per year – at the Baotou fuel fabrication facility in Inner Mongolia began in March 2012. Qualification of the production line was completed in October 2016. Ahead of full production, two sets of dummy fuel assemblies were made to verify the production process.
Westinghouse issued the production line with the qualification certificate on 19 January 2017 and the plant was formally put into production on 16 June. The first domestically fabricated AP1000 fuel assembly came off the production line on 14 July.
On 14 January 2017, China North Nuclear Fuel signed a refueling package procurement contract with the Sanmen plant. Under the contract, the production line will supply batches of fuel assemblies for the second, third and fourth fuel cycles of Sanmen units 1 and 2.
Sanmen 1 is expected to be the first Westinghouse AP1000 to begin operating later this year, with Sanmen 2 also set to start up in 2018.
Source: World Nuclear News