Nuclear energy progress in China, Japan and the USA

1. Unit 2 of the Changjiang nuclear power plant on China’s southern island province of Hainan has entered commercial operation.

The 650 MWe CNP-600 pressurized water reactor met all the conditions for entering commercial operation at 5.00pm on 12 August, having completed a 168-hour continuous demonstration run.

The reactor achieved first criticality on 9 June following the completion of loading 121 fuel assemblies into its core on 12 May. It was connected to the grid on 20 June.

The units will avoid the burning of some 300 million tonnes of coal and the resulting emission of about 7.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and 5.8 tonnes of sulfur dioxide, it claims.

Changjiang 2 becomes CNNC’s 15th power reactor in commercial operation. It now has 12,162 MWe of generating capacity online. CNNC also has another nine units under construction and several more planned.

Changjiang units 1 and 2 (Image: CNNC)

2. Shikoku Electric Power Company announced August 12 that it had initiated the process to restart unit 3 of its Ikata nuclear power plant in Japan’s Ehime prefecture. It becomes the fifth Japanese reactor to resume operation under new safety standards introduced following the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Output from the 846 MWe pressurized water reactor will then gradually be increased and full capacity should be reached on 22 August. The unit is set to re-enter commercial operation in early September.

3. The final “super modules” have been lifted into place in the containment vessel of VC Summer unit 2, marking a milestone in the construction of the AP1000 reactor. Construction began on both units in 2013, with unit 2 expected to enter operations in 2019 and unit 3 in 2020.