Delay to start-up of CGN's first Hualong One unit

21 December 2022

Unit 3 of the Fangchenggang nuclear power plant in China's Guangxi Autonomous Region will now not begin operation until the first half of 2023, China General Nuclear (CGN) announced in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The unit - the first of two demonstration Hualong One (HPR1000) reactors under construction at the site - had been due to start up in the second half of 2022.

The Fangchenggang plant site (Image: FCGNPC)

"The company has recently made an overall evaluation of the construction of the Fangchenggang unit 3 in order to realise the high-quality operation of the first reactor of the demonstration projects of HPR1000 technology of the company and to ensure the long-term safe and stable operation of the unit when put into operation," CGN said.

"After due consideration, it has been decided to adjust the expected time of commencement of operation of Fangchenggang unit 3 to be the first half of 2023."

CGN noted that an operating licence for Fangchenggang 3 was granted on 25 November and that the loading of fuel into the reactor's core was completed on 28 November. "As at the date of this announcement, Fangchenggang unit 3 is in commissioning phase," it said.

"The group will continue to coordinate resources and strengths from all parties and strengthen the control and management of the safety, quality, progress, investment and other aspects of the project, with an aim to promote the completion of commissioning work, smooth grid connection and commencement of commercial operation of Fangchenggang unit 3," CGN said.

First concrete was poured for the nuclear island of unit 3 of the Fangchenggang plant - 39% owned by Guangxi Investment Group and 61% by CGN - in December 2015, while that for unit 4 was poured a year later. Unit 3 was originally expected to start up in 2019, with unit 4 scheduled to start up in 2020. Both their start-ups were subsequently postponed until 2022.

In January this year, CGN announced that the start up of Fangchenggang 3 and 4 had been put back due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. "The novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic has had a certain impact on the units' construction resources in the past two years," the company said at that time. The company said the start of operation of unit 3 had been put back to the second half of 2022, with that of unit 4 expected in the first half of 2024.

The two demonstration units of China National Nuclear Corporation's (CNNC's) version of the Hualong One design at the Fuqing plant in Fujian province have both already started up. Unit 5 entered commercial operation on 30 January 2021, with unit 6 following on 25 March this year.

CNNC has also started construction of two Hualong One units at the Zhangzhou plant in Fujian province, plus two units at Changjiang in Hainan.

CGN is also building two Hualong One units at Taipingling in Guangdong, as well as two the San'ao site in Zhejiang. It has also started construction of the first of two Hualong One units at the Lufeng plant in Guangdong.

Two HPR1000 units have been constructed at Pakistan's Karachi nuclear power plant. Construction began on Karachi unit 2 in 2015 and unit 3 in 2016. These entered commercial operation in May 2021 and April 2022, respectively.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News