First Hualong One reactor achieves initial criticality

Unit 5 at China National Nuclear Corporation’s (CNNC) Fuqing nuclear power plant has achieved initial criticality, becoming the very first Hualong One reactor to reach that milestone, the company announced on October 22. If all goes according to schedule, the unit will enter commercial operation later this year.

Fuel loading for Unit 5 began on September 4, following the issuance of the reactor’s operating license by China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment. The loading of 177 sets of fuel assemblies was completed on September 10.

Also known as the HPR1000, the Hualong One is a Chinese-designed, 1,000-MWe Generation III pressurized water reactor. Fuqing-5’s twin HPR1000, Fuqing-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.

Fuel loading begins at first Hualong One unit

Fuel loading begins at Fuqing-5. Photo: CNNC

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.