The ups and down of the worlds nuclear technology continues to ride like a never ending wave. The latest is here.
Construction projects in China have moved forward with the dome of unit 1 of the Fangchenggang plant being lowered into place and heavy components for the primary reactor coolant system of the first EPR at Taishan have being delivered from France.
Fangchenggang dome (CNECC)
In an operation lasting just over two hours, the dome of the containment building of Fangchenggang 1 was raised 65 metres above the ground and lowered into place on 13 April, which officials said was 17 days ahead of schedule. The dome has a diameter of 37 metres, a height of 11 metres and a weight of almost 145 tonnes. It was put into place on top of the containment vessel walls at 7.10pm.
Construction of the first of two domestically-developed 1000 MWeCPR-1000 pressurized water reactors, which will form Phase I of the Fangchenggang nuclear power plant, began in July 2010. The plant - about 45 kilometres from the border with Vietnam - is a project of Guangxi Fangchenggang Nuclear Power Group, a joint venture between China Guangdong Nuclear Power Co and Guangxi Investment Group. The plant is planned to eventually house six units.
The cost of constructing Phase I is RMB 25 billion ($3.7 billion). Some 87% of the equipment to be used in the Phase I units is expected to be sourced from Chinese suppliers. The first unit is scheduled to begin operating in 2015, while the second will start up in 2016.
Taishan steam generator (Areva)
Areva announced that the first two steam generators and the pressurizer for unit 1 of the Taishan EPR power plant had been delivered to the construction site in China's Guangdong province.
The steam generators - 25 meters long and weighing 550 tonnes each - were manufactured at Areva's plant at Chalon-St Marcel. They were first transported to Fos-sur-Mer in southern France, before being shipped onwards by sea to the Taishan site where they are being kept in storage awaiting installation. The two remaining generators and the reactor pressure vessel internals are in transitand due to arrive in coming weeks.
Taishan 1 and 2 are the first two reactors based on Areva's EPR design to be built in China. The first two EPRs planned for the site form part of an €8 billion ($10.4 billion) contract signed by Areva and the Guangdong Nuclear Power Group (CGNPC) in November 2007. The Taishan project, 140 kilometres west of Hong Kong, is owned by the Guangdong Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company Limited, a joint venture between EDF (30%) and CGNPC.
First concrete was poured in October 2009, and unit 1 should begin operating in 2013, with unit 2 in 2014. The construction of two further EPRs at Taishan is expected to begin by 2015. [On time and at budget--DW]
More on China:
Unit 4 at China's Qinshan Phase II has begun commercial operation. The announcement marks the successful conclusion of the project to add two more indigenously-designed units at the plant in Zhejiang province.
Qinshan II 4 commercial operation (CNNC)
A ceremony held in unit 4's control room marks the reactor's entry into commercial operation (Image; CNNC)
At 9.05am on 8 April, the head of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), Sun Qin, declared to workers and officials gathered in the unit's control room that the reactor had successfully begun commercial operation, 60 days ahead of schedule. He said that the Qinshan Phase II expansion project - the construction of units 3 and 4 - is 'now fully complete and commissioned.'
The reactor, a CNP-600, is a locally-designed and constructed two-loop pressurized water reactor (PWR) design rated at 650 MWe. It has taken about five years to build, with first concrete for the unit poured in January 2007. The unit was connected to the grid on 25 November 2011, becoming China's 15th operating nuclear power reactor.
CNNC also held a thematic briefing at the Zhejiang Grand Theatre to mark the completion of the Qinshan Phase II expansion project. The event was attended by senior company representatives, as well as local and national government figures. Mr Zubin, president of CNNC's plant construction subsidiary China Nuclear Engineering and Construction Corporation (CNECC), told those gathered that the project was of 'special significance' to CNNC as it had been carefully managed to help develop China's nuclear industry and had 'laid a good foundation' for the country's rapid development of nuclear power.
Qinshan Phase II is already home to three operating CNP-600s, built with a high degree of localisation. Units 1 and 2, comprising the first stage of Phase II, began operating in 2002 and 2004, respectively. Construction of the second stage was formally inaugurated at the end of April 2006, although first concrete had been poured for unit 3 the previous month. First concrete for unit 4 was poured in February 2007. Unit 3 entered commercial operation in October 2010.
Phase I of the plant saw the construction of a 300 MWe PWR start in 1985 - the first indigenously-designed Chinese nuclear power station to be built. Phase III consists of two 750 MWe pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) supplied by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd and commissioned in 2002 and 2003.
The Qinshan plant now consists of seven reactors with a combined capacity of 4320 MWe. The plant is expected to generate some 34 billion kWh of electricity annually.
While current Chinese new build projects continue, approval of new plants remains suspended as officials respond to last year's Fukushima accident.
This just in:
Saudi Arabia is looking to 2020 to have online its first nuclear power plant and potentially to 2030 to construct up to 60 reactors, a rather optimistic forecast for an already overburdened electrical grid system, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Such a scenario means that from 2020 to 2030, up to six reactors would have to be built annually.
Saudi Arabia is just one of the Middle East oil producers – including Iran – that sees nuclear energy as an alternative approach to maintain economic growth considering what is viewed as a continually diminishing finite resource of oil.
The Saudis consume more than 1.5 million barrels of oil domestically a day at $4.50 a barrel. They would rather sell that oil on the international market, where it goes for some $125 a barrel.
Analysts say, however, that Saudi Arabia’s nuclear intentions are overly ambitious and they will have to resort more to an energy mix of alternative fuel sources as a substitute for fossil fuels.
Plans for coming up with alternative fuel sources to cope with an overworked electrical grid system are being drawn up at the recently constructed King Abdullah Center for Atomic and Renewable Energy, or KACARE.
A survey of sites to construct the nuclear reactors now is under way, as is a study for technology selection of other alternative energy sources.
Ground-breaking for the first nuclear reactor site is to take place in 2014. Not only is Saudi Arabia involved in developing nuclear energy for civilian use but so are Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.