First Two AP1000 nuclear reactors nearing completion by the end of 2016 in China

The AP1000 is a nuclear power plant designed and sold by Westinghouse Electric Company, now majority owned by Toshiba. The plant is a pressurized water reactor with improved use of passive nuclear safety.

The final module – the containment water tank – has been installed at the second AP1000 unit under construction at Sanmen in China’s Zhejiang province.

Sanmen unit 1 is expected to be the first AP1000 to begin operating, in September 2016. Haiyang 1 is expected to start up by the end of 2016. Containment tests have already been successfully conducted at both units. All four Chinese AP1000s are scheduled to be in operation by the end of 2017.

Four AP1000 reactors are being built in the USA – two each at Vogtle and Summer – while three AP1000s are also proposed for the Moorside site in the UK.

Four AP1000 reactors are being built in the United States: two at Vogtle (units 3&4) and two at VC Summer (units 2&3). All four reactors are identical and the two projects run in parallel, with the first two reactors (Vogtle 3 and Summer 2) planned to be commissioned in 2018 and the remaining two (Vogtle 4 and Summer 3) one year later in 2019. Both projects are running approximately 3 years behind schedule.

The AP1000 is a two-loop pressurized water reactor planned to produce a net power output of 1,117 MWe. It is an evolutionary improvement on the AP600, essentially a more powerful model with roughly the same footprint.

A design objective was to be less expensive to build than other Generation III designs, by both using existing technology, and needing less equipment than competing three or four cooling loop designs. However, recent AP1000 construction projects in the US, such as Vogtle, and in China, are currently more expensive and are taking longer to build when compared to some other Generation III designs. The AP1000 design is considerably more compact in land usage than most existing PWRs, and uses under a fifth of the concrete and rebar reinforcing of older designs

The CB20 module is lowered on to Sanmen 2’s containment (Image: CNEC)