Unit 1 of the Shin Hanul nuclear power plant entered test operation on 15 July, South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) announced. The unit – the first of four APR-1400 reactors at the site – is scheduled to enter commercial operation in September.
The announcement came as the 2nd Vice Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, Park Il-joon, visited the Shin-Hanul plant to inspect the test operation of unit 1 and the preparations for the construction of units 3 and 4.
Ground breaking for the first two units at the Shin Hanul (formerly Shin Ulchin) site took place in May 2012. First concrete for unit 1 was poured two months later, with that for unit 2 following in June 2013.
Shin Hanul 1 achieved first criticality – a sustained chain reaction – on 22 May this year and was connected to the grid on 9 June. The 1350 MWe pressurised water reactor is scheduled to enter commercial operation in September, with unit 2 following in September 2023.
MOTIE noted that the overall construction of Shin Hanul units 1 and 2 was 99.13% complete, as of the end of June.
“We will make every effort to complete the construction of Shin Hanul units 1 and 2 in order to contribute to the supply and demand of electricity,” Park said. “In particular, Shin Hanul unit 1 should perform a thorough performance check such as safety as it has recently been connected to the grid and is undergoing test operation.”
Construction of two further APR-1400s as Shin Kori units 5 and 6 began in April 2017 and September 2018, respectively. These are scheduled to be commissioned in March 2023 and June 2024.
Earlier this month, South Korea’s government laid out a new energy policy that aims to maintain nuclear’s share of the country’s energy mix at a minimum of 30% by 2030, reversing former President Moon Jae-in’s policy of phasing out nuclear power. It also calls for the construction of units 3 and 4 at the Shin Hanul plant to resume after design work was suspended in 2017 due to uncertainties about government policy on the construction of new reactors.
Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Lee Chang-yang subsequently set out plans, including the aim for work on Shin Hanul 3 and 4 to resume as early as 2024.
“The construction of Shin Hanul units 3 and 4 must also be carried out in compliance with legal procedures and standards, with safety being the top priority,” Park said. “Efforts are being made to resume construction as soon as possible through prompt and thorough preparations while observing all procedures stipulated in relevant laws and ordinances”.
Source: World Nuclear News