China Fires up Construction of the First of Many AP1000 nuclear reactors

Real construction work on the China’s Sanman AP1000 nuclear reactors should begin within one month.

The result will be the first Westinghouse-designed AP1000 pressurized water reactors in the world, ahead of the others at Haiyang in Shandong province and more expected in the UK and the USA. Site preparation at Sanmen in Zhejiang province is well advanced, with basic excavations completed early in September last year. Now the engineering, procurement and construction contract has been signed off construction work can begin in earnest, SNTPC said. An official ‘groundbreaking’ ceremony is to be held on schedule before the end of March.

Chinese planners have tasked SNPTC with a three-stage program for mastering AP1000 technology. The first is to introduce the advanced reactor successfully; the second is to ‘assimilate’ it and master its construction using domestic expertise and manufacturing capacity; the third is to ‘re-innovate’ the design, which could see it engineered to produce more power than its current 1100 MWe.

The AP1000, the CPR-1000 (derived from French reactors) and China’s high temperature nuclear pebble reactor will be built in large numbers.