South Korea will start building to APR1400 reactors this year and China is completing two AP 1000 nuclear reactors

Two new reactors have been approved to start construction in South Korea this year. Nuclear will continue its strong growth in the country, albeit under a less ambitious energy policy.

They plan to build two new APR1400 units at Shin Kori in the south east of the country. The reactors will be the fifth and sixth at the site and will come with a combined price tag of KRW7.61 trillion ($7.1 billion). $2.53 billion per gigawatt.

Construction is set to start on Shin Kori 5 in September this year, with unit 6 likely to follow 6-12 months after. They are slated to begin generating power in late 2019 and 2020.

The goal for nuclear power plants in 2035 is to represent around 29% of capacity, up from 19% now. To do this South Korea must build Shin Kori 5 and 6 as well as three further units – in addition to completing the five reactors currently under construction and continuing to operate the existing fleet of 23. This would result in a South Korean nuclear fleet counting 33 large reactors in 2035.

This nuclear target actually represents a downward revision from a previous policy that would have seen nuclear power plants rise to make up 41% of capacity. However, the baseload role of nuclear power means that its share of production significantly exceeds its share of capacity: Today’s reactors in South Korea are 19% of generation capacity yet their continuous operation sees them produce almost 30% of electricity.

Other aspects of the new energy policy, brought in this month, aim to reduce coal and oil from today’s 66% share to 52% by 2035, while meeting demand for electricity that grows steadily at around 2.5% per year. Renewables will go from about 3.6% to 5.5% of capacity while gas will grow from 12% to 15%.

China completing two AP1000 reactors this year

cylindrical water tank was lifted into place at the AP1000 under construction at Sanmen in China’s Zhejiang province. The 312 tonne module is the last module for the new reactor unit.

Sanmen 1 will be the first AP1000 unit in operation, ahead of Haiyang 1 in Shandong province, with both expected to come into operation before the end of this year. Other units will follow at both sites within another year.

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