The loading of 177 fuel assemblies into the reactor core of Unit 5 at the Fuqing nuclear power plant began on September 4, following the issuance of the unit’s operating license from China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment, the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) announced on September 8. Construction of the reactor began in May 2015.
Unit 5 will be the first of the Hualong One reactors to enter commercial operation, expected later this year if all goes according to plan. Also known as the HPR1000, the Hualong One is a 1,000-MWe Generation III pressurized water reactor, indigenous to China. Unit 5’s twin HPR1000 at Fuqing, Unit 6, is scheduled to start contributing power to the grid next year.
Located in China’s Fujian Province, Fuqing also houses four 1,000-MWe CPR-1000 PWRs, with commercial start dates of November 2014, October 2015, October 2016, and September 2017, respectively.
From CNNC: “In order to ensure the smooth progress of the fuel loading of Hualong One, the construction team fully considered the differences in the layout and quantity of Hualong One’s core fuel assemblies, carried out loading exercises, optimized the loading sequence, and ensured that the loading was safe and controllable,” CNNC said in its announcement.
More to come: In addition to the new units at Fuqing, CNNC is building two Hualong One reactors at the Zhangzhou site in Fujian Province (construction of Unit 1 began in October 2019, while Unit 2’s construction commenced just last week) and one at Taipingling in Guangdong Province, with another planned for the site.
Plus, China General Nuclear is building Hualong One reactors (Units 3 and 4) at its Fangchenggang plant in Guangxi Province.