14 Dec (NucNet): The Taishan-1 nuclear reactor in southern China has begun commercial operation, the first EPR anywhere in the world to do so, Chinese nuclear company CGN said today.
Taishan-1, construction of which began in November 2009, is one of two Generation III EPR units under construction at Taishan, in Guangdong province.
CGN said commercial operation of Taishan-1 is “a vote of confidence” for the EPR technology, which is also being deployed at Hinkley Point C in Somerset, England.
CGN said Taishan-1 and its sister unit Taishan-2 have a gross capacity of 1,755 MW (1,660 MW net), which means Unit 1 is the largest power generation unit yet to enter service. In total the two units will be capable of generating 24 TWh of electricity a year, enough to meet the power consumption of 5.8 million homes.
Confirmation of commercial operation comes 10 months after CGN confirmed delays to the Taishan project. In February 2017 the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange that a comprehensive evaluation had been carried out and it had been decided to “adjust the construction plan”.
The Taishan project is a joint venture involving CGN and France’s EDF Group. CGN is the majority owner of the joint venture and EDF owns 30%. Hinkley Point C is also being developed jointly by the two companies, with 66.5% ownership for EDF and 33.5% for CGN.
Zheng Dongshan, chief executive of CGN UK, said the fact that CGN is able to bring expertise to the UK from Taishan “gives us even greater confidence in the Hinkley Point C project and the EPR reactors we are building together there.”
EDF Energy and CGN are also planning to use the EPR technology at Sizewell C in southeast England.
Simone Rossi, chief executive of EDF Energy, said experience gathered a Taishan-1 will help lower costs for Sizewell C so that nuclear remains competitive.
CGN said development of the Taishan-2 EPR continues with further announcements expected soon. The company said significant progress has been made at Hinkley Point C, with collaboration between experts from CGN and EDF Group and expertise brought from Taishan-1 being key factors.
CGN is the largest owner and operator of nuclear power stations in China and the world’s largest builder of nuclear reactors. Including Taishan-1 it has 22 nuclear units in operation in China, with a total capacity of 24.2 GW, or 53% of China’s installed nuclear power capacity. It also has six units under construction with a capacity of 7.54 GW.
The company has committed to invest more than £10bn in UK new nuclear at Hinkley Point C, Sizewell C, and Bradwell B, for which the reference plant is the HPR1000 reactor under construction at Fangchenggang, in Guangxi province, southern China.