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Unit 2 of Taishan NPP qualified for commercial operation


Having completed a 168-hour test run, Unit 2 of Taishan Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) became the world’s second European pressurized reactor (EPR) qualified for commercial operation on Sept 7.

The largest Sino-French energy cooperation project in China, the Taishan NPP Phase I is constructed and operated by Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Co Ltd, with the investment of China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN), Electricité de France (EDF), and Guangdong Energy Group Co Ltd. When Units 1 and Unit 2 come into operation, they will reduce standard coal consumption by about 8.03 million tons and greenhouse gas emissions by more than 21.09 million tons, which is equivalent to planting 5,850 hectares of trees annually.

Caption: Taishan NPP Phase I

The Taishan NPP Phase I accommodates two nuclear power units with a single installed capacity of 1.75GW, which adopts the Gen-III EPR nuclear power technology developed by EDF and Framatome. The technology adsorbed the operation experience and technical progress of 357 in-service pressurized water reactors across the world over the past four decades. It not only meets the European Utility Requirements and International Atomic Energy Agency standard, but also complies with Chinese regulations on nuclear safety.

Unit 1 commerced construction in 2009 and became the world’s first EPR to come into commercial operation on Dec 13, 2018. Based on previous experiences and feedback, Unit 2 began construction in 2010, started fuel loading on April 12, 2019 and realized grid connection for power generation on June 23 this year.

The first concrete pouring for Unit 2’s nuclear island raft foundation

Noticeably, Units 1 and 2 of Taishan NPP Phase 1 are the world's third and fourth EPR units to have begun construction, but are the first two to have been completed. They have benefited from CGN’s 30 years of nuclear construction and operation experience, the long-lasting mutually beneficial Sino-French cooperation in the nuclear power sector, the participation of experienced and capable professionals, as well as the reference from the previous two EPR projects in Europe.

This year marks the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and France. The introduction of EPR technology for the construction of Taishan NPP was an important decision made by the Chinese government based on its national energy strategy, as well as a milestone in Sino-French energy cooperation. The heads of the two countries witnessed the signing of a series of cooperation agreements on Nov 26, 2007 and unveiled the plaque for Unit 1, the first EPR reactor in the world, on Jan 9, 2018.

The two units, which feature Sino-French joint design and construction, promotes the cooperation between the two countries in the field of Gen-III nuclear power technology, and is of great significance to the development of the Sino-French nuclear power equipment manufacturing industry.

No 2 turbine building of Taishan NPP

As the world's first accomplished Gen-III EPR project, Taishan NPP provides valuable experience and solutions for the construction of similar units worldwide. It will also play an exemplary role for Sino-French cooperation in the Hinkely Point C project in the UK and their joint development of the third-party market.

The long-standing Sino-French nuclear energy cooperation has yielded fruitful results. In the 1980s, CGN introduced M310 technology and management experience from France, purchased major equipment from France and Britain, as well as cooperated with international teams to build Daya Bay NPP, the first gigawatt-level commercial nuclear power plant in the Chinese mainland. In the 1990s, CGN cooperated with France to build the Ling Ao Phase I, pushing the localization rate of China's nuclear power from 1 percent of to 30 percent. In the 21st century, CGN and EDF once again worked together to build Taishan Unit 1 and Unit 2, as well as invested in the Hinkely Point C, Sizewell C, and Bradwell B projects in the UK.

According to He Yu, Chairman of CGN, Sino-French nuclear energy cooperation has gone through three stages: from Daya Bay NPP to uTaishan Units 1 and 2, and to the three British projects. He noted that there is huge potential for bilateral cooperation in the nuclear industry, for example, the development of the international nuclear power market, the nuclear energy industry chain, and technological research and development.