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Fuel loading completed at second Shin Hanul unit

The loading of fuel has been completed at unit 2 of the Shin Hanul nuclear power plant, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) announced. The unit – the second of two APR1400 reactors at the site – is expected to enter commercial operation in about six months’ time following the completion of test runs.

Shin Hanul 2 received an operating licence from the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission on 7 September, after which it completed a preliminary inspection by the regulator.

KHNP said that between 11 and 18 September a total of 241 fuel assemblies were loaded into the reactor’s core.

The company will now conduct reactor physics and systems testing. “During the trial run test period, Shin Hanul unit 2 will conduct various tests to confirm the operation and safety of essential facilities under normal operating temperature and pressure conditions,” it said.

“We will conduct step-by-step test runs with safety as our top priority and thoroughly verify final performance,” said KHNP CEO Hwang Joo-ho, adding: “We will do our best to contribute to a stable power supply.”

Shin Hanul units 1 and 2 (Image: KHNP)

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 2022 and was connected to the grid on 9 June last year. The 1350 MWe pressurised water reactor entered commercial operation in December.

Once in operation, Shin Hanul 2 will be South Korea’s 28th nuclear power reactor and its 4th operational APR1400 – after Saeul units 1 and 2 (formerly Shin Kori 3 and 4) and Shin Hanul unit 1. Two further APR1400s are under construction as Saeul units 3 and 4, with two more units planned as Shin Hanul units 3 and 4.

“In particular, Shin Hanul unit 2, along with unit 1, is the first power reactor in Korea to localise core facilities such as the reactor coolant pump and nuclear instrumentation and control system and achieve technological independence,” KHNP noted.

The APR1400 is an evolutionary pressurised water reactor with its origins in the CE System 80+ model. Principally designed by Korea Engineering Company, it produces 1400 MWe and has a 60-year design life. It supersedes the standardised 995 MWe OPR1000 design, of which South Korea built 12. The APR1400 features improvements in operation, safety, maintenance and affordability based on accumulated experience as well as technological development.

Four APR1400 units have been built at the Barakah nuclear power plant in the UAE, three of which are now in operation. All four units are due online by 2025.

Source: World Nuclear News