The first of two reactor pressure vessels has been installed at the demonstration HTR-PM high-temperature gas-cooled reactor unit under construction at Shidaowan in China's Shandong province. The twin-reactor unit is scheduled to start up next year.
The vessel - about 25 meters in height and weighing about 700 tonnes - was manufactured by Shanghai Electric Nuclear Power Equipment. It successfully completed factory acceptance on 29 February and was dispatched from the manufacturing plant on 2 March. The pressure vessel arrived at the Shidaowan site on 10 March, plant owner China Huaneng Group announced the following day.
Plant constructor China Nuclear Engineering Corporation (CNEC) announced yesterday that the first reactor pressure vessel had now been installed within the unit's containment building. The operation to lift the vessel over the reactor building and lower it onto its support ring took seven hours to complete, it said.
The milestone was witnessed by a delegation of local dignitaries and company representatives, including China Huaneng president Cao Peixi and vice president Zhang Tingke, CNEC chairman Wangshou Jun, and the party secretary of the Rongcheng municipal government Chen Xu Qinghua. In addition to watching the pressure vessel hoisting process, the guests also visited the HTR-PM full scope simulator at the site and were given a briefing by China Huaneng and Tsinghua University on the latest developments in the research and design of the HTR.
Work began on the demonstration HTR-PM unit - which features two small reactors and a turbine - at China Huaneng's Shidaowan site in December 2012. China Huaneng is the lead organization in the consortium to build the demonstration units together with CNEC and Tsinghua University's Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology, which is the research and development leader. Chinergy, a joint venture of Tsinghua and CNEC, is the main contractor for the nuclear island.
China Huaneng said the second reactor pressure vessel for the demonstration HTR-PM unit is scheduled to be installed in May.
The demonstration plant's twin HTR-PM reactors will drive a single 210 MWe turbine. It is expected to start commercial operation in late 2017. An earlier proposal was for 18 further 210 MWe units - giving a total capacity of 3800 MWe - at the Shidaowan site, near Rongcheng in Weihai city, but this has been dropped.
A proposal to construct two 600 MWe HTR plants - each featuring three twin reactor and turbine units - at Ruijin city in China's Jiangxi province passed a preliminary feasibility review in early 2015. The design of the Ruijin HTRs is based on the smaller Shidaowan demonstration HTR-PM. Construction of the Ruijin reactors is expected to start next year, with grid connection in 2021.
China Huaneng noted that memoranda of understanding have been signed with countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for cooperation in HTR projects.