China’s pebble bed nuclear reactor gets a prototype helium fan

[World Nuclear News] A prototype helium fan for use in China’s HTR-PM high-temperature gas-cooled reactor has successfully completed testing. A demonstration plant based on twin HTR-PM units is currently under construction at Shidaowan, Shandong province.

The purpose of the helium fan can be compared to that of the main circulation pump in a pressurized water reactor: to provide sufficient flow of coolant during the reactor’s start-up, operation and shut down to take away the heat generated by the reactor core. The HTR-PM features pebble bed fuel and helium coolant.

Work began on two demonstration HTR-PM units at China Huaneng Group’s Shidaowan site in December 2012. China Huaneng is the lead organization in the consortium to build the demonstration units together with China Nuclear Engineering Corporation (CNEC) and Tsinghua University’s Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology (INET), which is the research and development leader. Chinergy, a joint venture of Tsinghua and CNEC, is the main contractor for the nuclear island.

The demonstration plant’s twin HTR-PM units will drive a single 210 MWe turbine. It is expected to begin operating around 2017. Eighteen further units are proposed for the Shidaowan site, near Rongcheng in Weihai city.

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