An earlier version of this story stated that construction would start imminently when it had in fact already begun. WNN apologises for this error.
Construction of the first two AP1000 reactors at the Haiyang nuclear power plant in eastern China's Shandong province has started in earnest. Concrete has been poured and some of the reactor modules are already on-site.
How Haiyang could look with six AP1000 units (Image: CPI)
Phase I of the Haiyang plant, comprising two Westinghouse AP1000 units, was approved by the State Council on 23 September. The following day, the National Nuclear Safety Administration issued a permit for the construction of the two reactors, and today it emerged that first concrete has already been poured. Furthermore, at least two of the 72 huge modules that will make up the first reactor have already been made and transported to the site. Haiyang 1 and 2 are expected to begin operating in May 2014 and March 2015 respectively.
A framework agreement was signed at the end of February 2007 between Westinghouse and China's State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) specifying Haiyang and Sanmen as the sites for four AP1000 units. In July that year, Westinghouse along with consortium partner Shaw signed the contracts with SNPTC, Sanmen Nuclear Power Company (51% owned by China National Nuclear Corp), Shandong Nuclear Power Company (61% owned by China Power Investment Corp - CPI) and China National Technical Import & Export Corporation for the four AP1000 reactors. Specific terms were not disclosed but the figure of $5.3 billion for the first two was widely quoted.
Sanmen site works commenced in February 2008 and full construction on Sanmen 1 - the world's first AP1000 unit - officially commenced on 19 April 2009. The first modules of the reactor building are in place and it is expected to begin operation in August 2013, followed one year later by unit 2.
The Haiyang site will eventually have six large reactors. In March 2009, the National Development and Reform Commission approved preliminary works for units 3 and 4 at the CPI site, also to be AP1000 units. Construction of those units is expected to start late in 2010.
China is effectively setting up a production line for AP1000s and future derivatives, having set up fully qualified nuclear module factories from scratch in less than three years.