Second Chinese Hualong One achieves criticality

13 December 2021

Unit 6 of the Fuqing nuclear power plant has attained a sustained chain reaction for the first time. The unit - the second of two demonstration Hualong One reactors at the site in China's Fujian province - will now undergo a series of tests before being connected to the grid and entering commercial operation.

Workers in the control room of Fuqing 6 (Image: CNNC)

China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) announced that the 1000 MWe (net) pressurised water reactor achieved first criticality at 6:32pm on 11 December following approval from the National Nuclear Safety Administration.

"After the completion of a series of criticality related tests, unit 6 will carry out the first nuclear steam flushing and grid connection test of the steam turbine generator unit," CNNC said.

China's State Council gave final approval for construction of Fuqing units 5 and 6 in April 2015. The pouring of first concrete for Fuqing 5 began in May 2015, marking the official start of construction of the unit. Construction of unit 6 began in December the same year. Unit 5 was connected to the grid on 27 November last year, having achieved first criticality on 21 October, and entered commercial operation on 30 January this year.

"At present, Fuqing nuclear power unit No.5 - the world's first Hualong One reactor - has successfully completed the first cycle of safe operation and has begun its first refueling overhaul," CNNC said.

Construction of two demonstration Hualong One (HPR1000) units is also under way at China General Nuclear's Fangchenggang plant in the Guangxi Autonomous Region. Those units are expected to start up in 2022. CNNC has also started construction of two Hualong One units at the Zhangzhou plant in Fujian province, plus the first of two units at Taipingling in Guangdong.

Two HPR1000 units are under construction at Pakistan's Karachi nuclear power plant. Construction began on Karachi unit 2 in 2015 and unit 3 in 2016; the units are planned to enter commercial operation in this year and next, respectively. Karachi 2 was connected to the grid in March after the completion of commissioning tests.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News