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China, France leaders mark first completion of EPR reactor


Chinese President Xi Jinping and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron unveiled a plaque to mark completion of the world’s first European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) at the Taishan site of China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, on Jan 9.

The Taishan Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) is operated by Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Co Ltd, a consortium invested by CGN, Electricité de France (EDF) and Guangdong Yuedian Group. It is the largest cooperative project on energy completed between China and France.

Construction of Unit 1 started in 2009 and that of Unit 2 in 2010. Both units employ the third-generation EPR design, globally the third and fourth nuclear units to do so.

The project has progressed smoothly and on schedule with good safety and quality since the beginning of construction. On Feb 30, 2015, Unit 1 of Taishan NPP became the world’s first EPR reactor to conduct its cold functional tests and since then the project has continued to export successful EPR practices and experience overseas. Taishan NPP Unit 1 has now completed its hot functional tests and Unit 2 continues to undergo equipment installation.

CGN Chairman He Yu said that several factors contribute to Taishan NPP Unit 1’s becoming the first EPR reactor in the world: CGN’s leading role in the project with its rich experience in construction and operation of NPPs over more than three decades of development in the nuclear industry, the long-term and mutually-beneficial strategic partnership between the corporation and EDF, a high-level coordination mechanism established between the nine participants involved and lessons drawn from previous projects in Finland and France.

China and France have cherished long-term cooperation in nuclear power ever since China used French technology to build its first gigawatt-level commercial NPP at Daya Bay in 1987, a solid foundation for bilateral cooperation.

On Oct 21, 2015, CGN and EDF signed a package of agreements regarding three major British nuclear projects. Furthermore, the two companies are working closely to assess the general design of the China-developed third-generation Hualong One (HPR1000) nuclear technology.

The CGN chairman pointed out that cooperation in nuclear energy plays an important part in Sino-French economic and technological relations, which themselves exemplify good bilateral commercial and state ties.

The unveiling ceremony was hosted by Nur Bekri, vice-chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission and director of China's National Energy Administration, and was attended by many leading officials from the Chinese and French nuclear industries.

An aerial view of the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant, located in Guangdong province, the first completed EPR reactor in the world