Pandemic delays start up of Fangchenggang Hualong One units

26 January 2022

Operation of the two demonstration Hualong One (HPR1000) reactors under construction at the Fangchenggang site in China's Guangxi Autonomous Region has been put back due to delays caused by COVID-19. Unit 3 will start up later in this year than previously planned and unit 4 will now not begin operating until 2024, China General Nuclear (CGN) said.

The Fangchenggang plant site (Image: FCGNPC)

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 a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, CGN said: "The novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic has had a certain impact on the units' construction resources in the past two years, and the Group has recently completed an overall evaluation of the construction of the Fangchenggang Units 3 and 4.

"To realise the high-quality operation of the units and ensure the safe and stable operation of the units when put into operation, and after due consideration, it has been decided to adjust the construction plan of the units, and the expected date of commencement of operation of Fangchenggang Unit 3 will be the second half of 2022 and the expected date of commencement of operation of Fangchenggang Unit 4 will be adjusted to the first half of 2024."

CGN noted that Fangchenggang 3 is currently in the commissioning phase, while unit 4 is in equipment installation phase.

The two demonstration units of China National Nuclear Corporation's (CNNC's) version of the Hualong One design at the Fuqing plant have both already started up. Unit 5 was connected to the grid on 27 November 2020, having achieved first criticality on 21 October, and entered commercial operation on 30 January last year. Unit 6 was connected to the grid on 1 January 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.

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. Karachi 2 was connected to the grid in March 2021 after the completion of commissioning tests. Karachi 3 is expected to start up later this year.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News