Milestones in the commissioning of the AP1000s under construction at the Haiyang nuclear power plant in China’s Shandong province were met on 8 August. Unit 1 achieved first criticality, while fuel loading started at unit 2.
Unit 1 of the Haiyang plant attained first criticality – a sustained chain reaction – at 10.42am yesterday, State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) announced. The reactor is now in “a state of stable low-power operation”, it said, adding that after completing a series of low-power physics tests, the unit’s turbines will be driven for the first time using nuclear-generated steam and grid connection work will commence.
Synchronisation to the electricity grid will be followed by gradual power ascension testing until all testing has been safely and successfully completed at 100% power.
The loading of the 157 fuel assemblies into the core of Haiyang 1 began on 21 June. The unit is expected to begin operating by year-end.
SNPTC also announced the loading of fuel assemblies into Haiyang unit 2 began at 3.26pm yesterday following approval from the National Nuclear Safety Administration and the Ministry of Ecology & Environment. Haiyang 2 is expected to start up next year.
In September 2007, Westinghouse and its partner the Shaw Group received authorisation to construct four AP1000 units in China: two at Sanmen and two more at Haiyang in Shandong province. Construction of Sanmen 1 began in April 2009, while first concrete for Sanmen 2 was poured in December 2009. Construction of Haiyang 1 and 2 began in September 2009 and June 2010, respectively.
Sanmen 1 was the world’s first AP1000 to start up, achieving first criticality on 22 June and grid connection on 2 July. Fuel has already been loaded into Sanmen 2 and the unit has been authorised to attained first criticality. That unit is expected to begin operating by the end of this year.
Four AP1000 reactors were also being built in the USA – two each at Vogtle and Summer. However, construction of the two Summer units was suspended last August.
Source: World Nuclear News