Asia Pacific

Two Areva-designed nuclear reactors under construction at the Taishan nuclear plant in China are scheduled to begin operations in 2017.

Unit 1 construction is complete and testing has started in preparation for commercial operations in the first half of 2017, according to Bloomberg Business. Unit 2 is in the “equipment installation” stage and is expected to start operations in the second half of 2017.

The plant uses two European Pressurized Reactors that are three years behind schedule. Areva found weak spots in the bottom and lid of the EPR’s reactor vessel that is under construction in France. French nuclear regulators said a similar forging technique used at the French reactor was also used in the Taishan reactors and the two set for Hinkley Point C in the UK.

rosatom

 

Russia's Rosatom Atomic Power Agency is building eight 70MW FNPS (Floating Nuclear Powered Stations) to be stationed around the country. The mass-produced ships will be towed to the coast near a town, city or industrial site. There, they will produce either 70MW of electrical power or 300MW heat power, enough for a city of 200,000 people. They could also be modified as desalination plants producing 240,000m³ of fresh water a day.


The first prototype / demonstration ship is the Academician Lomonosov. Estimated at $336m, the ship's construction began in the Sevmash Arctic military shipyard in April 2007. The vessel was launched in July 2010 with St.Petersburg-based nuclear corporation Baltiisky Zavod. It is 140m long, 30m wide and has 21,000t displacement and 5.6m draught.
Another seven ships are planned by 2015, for the country's own use and for export. The World Nuclear Association reports that five ships will be used by Gazprom for offshore oil and gas field development and for operations on the Kola and Yamal peninsulas. One is planned for 2012 commissioning at Pevek on the Chukotka peninsula, another for Kamchatka region, both in the far east of the country. Further far eastern sites being considered are Yakutia and Taimyr.


Development


The size of individual nuclear power plants, after over fifty years of steady increases, seems to be dropping. High capital costs of large power reactors (and public fears of nuclear incidents) have led to the development of smaller units, below 300MWe.


"The ship will produce less than a hundredth of the power of most Russian nuclear plants. "


On land, these are being deployed singly or as modules in a larger complex, so adding capacity incrementally. Producing larger numbers of the units is bringing economies of scale, which is also allowing the small units to be deployed in remote sites.


Russia wants to bring power to the Russian regions around the Arctic Ocean (the US also produced a FNPS that in late 1960s / early 1970s supplied 10MW and desalinated water to the Panama Canal Zone).


The ship will produce less than a hundredth of the power of most Russian nuclear plants. A coastal site will be selected and the ship towed there by a tug, where the ship connects to transformers, pumps and other onshore infrastructure.


Modified KLT-40S nuclear reactors


The ship uses two modified OKBM KLT-40S nuclear reactors, derived from naval propulsion reactors used on the country's existing fleet of icebreakers, in service for the last 50 years. The reactors have a rated capacity of 35MW each and use low-enriched fuel. The reactor core is cooled by forced circulation, but the OKBM design relies on convection for emergency cooling. Fuel is uranium aluminium silicide with enrichment levels of up to 20%.


Russia plans to export the combined power and desalination units, with China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Algeria, Cape Verde and Argentina mentioned as potential buyers. The World Nuclear Association remarks that Russia will probably retain ownership of the plants with operational responsibility, simply selling the output.


"Russia will probably retain ownership of the plants with operational responsibility, simply selling the output."


The plant will actually be refuelled every three years (the maximum possible is four years), given a two-year overhaul every 12 years, and has a planned reactor lifetime of 40 years. The disposal of the nuclear waste will be organised by the manufacturer, aided by the Russian nuclear industry infrastructure.


Russia has also built a larger barge-mounted reactor, the VBER-150 with 350MW thermal and 110MWe electrical power. As a cogeneration plant, it is rated at 200MWe and 1,900GJ / hr. This was originally planned in pairs, displacing 49,000t.


Local environmental impact


Serious concerns have been expressed that floating plants moored in various places all over the world will be target of terrorism and vulnerable to naval accidents. Critics have pointed to a history of naval and nuclear accidents in Russia and the former Soviet Union, including Chernobyl. The plants will be located in remote areas with little chance of controlling them if problems develop.

The Fukushima Dai-Ichi Nuclear Power Station is located in the towns of Futaba and Ohkuma, 250km north of Tokyo city in Japan. The first unit of the nuclear station was commissioned in 1971. In total the station has six boiling water reactors which together have a power generation capacity of 4.7GW.


Fukushima Dai-Ichi was the first nuclear plant to be constructed and operated entirely by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).


Units 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the nuclear complex were damaged in a series of events after the 11 March 2011 earthquake (Tohoku-Chihou-Taiheiyou-Oki Earthquake) and tsunami that struck the nation.


The earthquake had cutoff the power supply needed to pump cooling water into the damaged reactors. A portion of the fuel rods which create heat through nuclear reaction was exposed due to the failure of the cooling system caused by the tsunami. This failure resulted in nuclear explosion in the reactors.


Efforts to cool the reactor vessels with seawater and boric acid failed. The evacuation zone around the nuclear complex was doubled from six to 12 miles and was further extended to 30km radius after the explosion of Unit 3.


Plant details

 

The total installed capacity of the six boiling water reactor units is 4,696MW. Unit 1 has an installed capacity of 460MW, Units 2, 3, 4 and 5 each have 784MW capacity and Unit 6 is rated at 1,100MW.


"The total installed capacity of the six boiling water reactor units is 4,696MW."


Units 1 to 5 are Mark I type while Unit 6 is a Mark II built with containment structures. All the reactors except Unit 3 continued using low enriched uranium (LEU). Unit 3 was being fed with mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel since September 2010.
Unit 1 was scheduled for closure in 2011. It was however granted an extension of further 10 years by the Japanese regulators in February 2011.


Development

 

The six reactors were designed by GE. The architectural design was provided by Ebasco.
GE also supplied the Units 1, 2 and 6. Units 3 and 5 were supplied by Toshiba and Unit 4 by Hitachi.
The nuclear complex was constructed by Kajima.


Reactors

 

The reactor units 1, 3 and 4 were automatically shut down following the earthquake.


The earthquake measured 8.9 on the Richter magnitude scale, which was much more than the plant's bearing capacity. The remaining two units 5 and 6 were also shut down for regular inspection.


The emergency onsite generation had failed to provide the necessary backup power needed to support the critical instruments and control systems. Even the special cooling system known as the reactor core isolation cooling system that uses waste heat to run the critical systems could not provide the power needed to operate the control systems.


"Fukushima Dai-Ichi was the first nuclear plant to be constructed and operated by TEPCO."


Unit 1 exploded on 12 March 2011 knocking down the external concrete building. However, the reactor and the steel containment structure remained intact. The radiation levels rose to 1015 microsievert, which is equivalent to the maximum permissible level for a year in a single day.


The explosion of Unit 1 has been classified as a 'level 4 accident with local consequences' on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). This scale measures 0-7 (from deviation-no safety significance – major accident) and is used to communicate the safety significance of events associated with radiation sources.


Unit 3 exploded due to hydrogen ignition on 14 March 2011. Pressure in the reactor was built-up to 530 kiloPascals (kPa) even while sea water was being injected into the reactor to control the radiation.


On the same day, the fifth floor of Unit 4 building was damaged. Fire was sighted in the north-west part of the fourth floor and efforts to put it out were initiated immediately.


The reactor Core Isolation system of Unit 2 had also stopped functioning, resulting in a third explosion in the suppression chamber.

The Shinpo project was cancelled by the US Government in 2002. The US claimed the plant breached a 1994 agreement by secretly continuing with its nuclear weapons programmes. The plant was to consist of two 1,000MW blocks based on the South Korean standard nuclear plant (KSNP) design. Total investment was originally estimated at $4.5bn.


Before work had begun a series of protocols had to be negotiated and signed. These governed privileges immunities, consular protection, communications, transportation, control of construction sites and services to be provided by the North, had to be negotiated and signed.


NUCLEAR ENERGY AND KOREA

 

The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organisation (KEDO) is a New York-based international consortium established in Geneva in 1994. The consortium comprises Japan, South Korea, the US, the EU and eight UN member countries, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Finland and Indonesia.


"The new light water reactor plant was to be under the scrutiny of international inspectors."


It was formed as part of an agreement whereby the international consortium members would build a 2,000MW nuclear power plant in North Korea and, in return, North Korea would phase out its graphite reactors, which are capable of producing bomb-grade material. Unlike the original Pyongyang programme, the new light water reactor plant was to be under the scrutiny of international inspectors, guaranteeing the communist country's nuclear power plants played no role in nuclear weapon development.


The location chosen for the new plant was the the Kumho area of Shinpo, in the South Hamkyong Province of North Korea.


CONSTRUCTION

 

A geological survey team finally started work in January 1996 to prepare for the construction of two light-water nuclear reactors. The survey focused on the possible impact of an earthquake on the proposed reactor site. A groundbreaking ceremony to mark the launch of the reactor construction project took place in August 1997. The consortium planned to complete construction of the two light-water reactors by 2003, but completion was subject to unique uncertainties.


PROJECT FINANCE

 

In February 1998, the KEDO executive board held talks to discuss sharing costs for the project. A revised project cost of $5.2bn had been agreed in November 1997. At that time only Japan and South Korea had made financial commitments to the project. The economic crisis in Asia meant that for a time neither South Korea nor Japan was in a position to continue to support the project without a stronger financial commitment from the other members of the international consortium.


The finances for the project were finally agreed in May 1999 when Japan committed $1bn. South Korea had a few months earlier agreed to commit $3.2bn and had raised electricity tariffs by 3% to finance their commitment. The US and the EU were to jointly provide a further $400m.


The project would also have needed investment in the North Korean transmission system, which was by no means adequate to distribute power from a plant of the capacity of Shinpo.


NUCLEAR POWER PLANT MAKE-UP

 

The Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) was the lead project manager for Shinpo. The power plant followed the KSPN design, which is modelled after ABB-CE's System 80. All the suppliers were companies that had been associated with KEPCO on other KSPN projects. Hanjung led the equipment supply. Construction was assigned to a consortium of Hyundai, Dong Ah, Daewoo, and Hanjung. Duke Engineering Service acted as a technical consultant.


DESIGN FEATURES

 

The KSNP was developed from incremental design improvements, which built on the safety and reliability of earlier proven designs. The recently completed Ulchin three and four units, in North Kyungsang Province of South Korea, were the first KSNPs. Their design was in turn derived from the earlier Yonggwang three and four power plant. The Yonggwang three and four design was itself modelled on the reactors at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in the United States. The basis for all these plants is ABB's successful System 80 design.


Design features in the KSNP that have evolved from the earlier models include:,

  1. A larger volume of coolant in the reactor system so that it responds more slowly to unanticipated transients. This gives a greater operating margin and reduces problems with safety systems
  2. A safety depressurisation system to meet the latest US regulatory requirements
  3. Digital plant control systems to increase reliability and reduce complexity
  4. An alternative AC power source to comply with recent regulatory concerns involving a station blackout
  5. Reactor vessel water-level measurement instrumentation has been improved
  6. Pump capacity of the emergency feed-water system has been increased
  7. Equipment and systems used in the reactor have been simplified for easier maintenance
  8. Supposedly designed to produce less radioactive waste

The construction cost and total time to completion of the KSNP is reported to be similar to that of the French standard, but less than that of Japanese or US models.


"The Shinpo project was cancelled by the US Government in 2002."


STANDARD SYSTEM

 

Developing the Korean standard system from the ABB System 80 design means the KSPN has a pedigree of safe and efficient operation. The three Palo Verde units in the US have had a successful operational record since their start-up in the 1980s.


The Yonggwang units three and four, which went into commercial operation in 1995 and 1996, now feature in the top ten in world nuclear plant performance.


KEPCO has reported that Yonggwang unit four achieved 'one cycle trouble free' operation after 387 days of continuous operation. During this third-fuel cycle, the unit achieved 102%, with no shutdowns. The Ulchin three and four units, which were the first KSPNs, have also achieved good performance to date. Unit three achieved a 103% capacity factor and a 100% availability factor during its first cycle of operation.


SAFETY CULTURE

 

KEPCO emphasise the paramount importance of the operator and the safety culture of the organisation in ensuring safe and reliable operation of nuclear plants. KEPCO claim that the Korean model is 10% safer than most other available reactors. The Korean nuclear power programme has enjoyed an excellent safety record to date.


KEPCO claim that their record of high availability factors, low frequency of reactor trips, low personnel exposures to radiation, and low volumes of radioactive waste, are all evidence that a high degree of emphasis is placed on operational excellence, and that a strong safety culture exists in the organisation.

Ulchin Nuclear Power Plant is the largest nuclear power plant in South Korea. Located in Gyeongsangbuk-do province, the facility has an installed capacity of 6,157MW and is being developed in two phases.


The first phase consisting of six units namely Ulchin 1-6 became operational in 2005, while the second phase consisting of two units namely Shin-Ulchin 1 and 2 is currently under construction.


Details of the first six Ulchin units

 

Ulchin-1 comes with a three-loop pressurised light water reactor. The reactor in unit 1 has a net capacity of 945MW. Its construction began in January 1983 and was complete in September 1988.


Ulchin-2 is identical to unit 1 and its construction started in July 1983. It started operations in September 1989. Unit 2 consists of a 942MW reactor.

 

Ulchin 3 consists of a two-loop light water pressurised water reactor, which became operational in August 1998. It is the first Korean Standard Nuclear Power Plant and has a 994MW reactor. Main features of the third unit are safety depressurisation system, improved chemical and volume control systems, usage of digital system for the control systems.


The KSNP nuclear technology self-reliance programme was initiated to achieve self-sufficiency in electricity supply by achieving self-reliance in nuclear power related technology. Ulchin 3 was the first plant to implement KSNP technology in 1998. The system includes a set of steps to be followed to generate electricity in a safe environment.


Ulchin 4 unit was constructed similarly to Ulchin 3. A two-loop light water Korean Standard Nuclear Power Plant, unit 4 comes with a 998MW reactor. It has been operational since August 1998.


Ulchin 5 unit has a 1,001MW pressurised light water reactor. Construction on the unit began in January 1999 and connected to the grid in January 2004.


The 996MW Ulchin unit 6 was constructed between September 2000 and January 2005.


Shin-Ulchin 1 and 2 units

 

Construction on the Shin-Ulchin unit 1 started in July 2012. The unit will include APR-1400 pressurised water reactor. The reactors will cost an estimated $6bn, and the net capacity of the unit will be 1,340MW. The new unit is expected to start operations in 2015.


Work on the construction of Shin-Ulchin unit 2 is expected to commence from September 2013 and finish in 2018. The unit will include APR-1400 pressurised water reactor with a net capacity of 1,340MW.


Ulchin nuclear power plant reactors

 

Ulchin Nuclear Power Plant units 1 and 2 comprise France CPI model reactors, with units 3-6 comprising OPR-1000 model pressurised water reactors.


The APR-1400, which is being used in Shin-Ulchin 1 and 2, was initially known as Korean Next-Generation Reactor. It has an enhanced seismic design to withstand 300Gal ground acceleration.


Ulchin nuclear power plant upgrade

 

The reactor thermal power upgrade was carried out for Ulchin 1 and 2 in September 2002. This resulted in an increase of the electric output by 54MW, from 1,003MW to 1,057MW. Long-term assessment strategies were planned based on equipment reliability processes, in order to reduce the maintenance cost of the plant and manage the systems.


Safety measures implemented at Ulchin NPP

 

Ulchin nuclear power plant includes safety equipment such as the safety injection system (SIS), the safety depressurisation system (SDS), the shutdown cooling system, emergency feed-water system, and containment spray system.


Contractors and suppliers for the Ulchin nuclear power project

 

"The reactor thermal power upgrade was carried out for Ulchin 1 and 2 in September 2002."


Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction was awarded the contract for the construction and development of Ulchin units 1-6.


Framatome provided the reactors for units 1 and 2. Alstom supplied the turbine generators, steam generators and architectural engineering services. Korean Heavy Industries and Construction and Dong Ah Construction Company were responsible for the building work.


Korean Heavy Industries and Construction (Hanjung) manufactured the reactor vessel, steam generators, turbine and generators, as well as pressurisers for the Ulchin 3-6 units.


ABB-CE provided the reactor coolant pumps, main components of the reactor, design work, engineering services, plant protection and safety systems. Architect and engineering services were provided by Sargent & Lundy.


A $200m contract was awarded to ABB for supplying nuclear reactor equipment to unit 5 and unit 6.


Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction was awarded the contract for manufacturing APR1400 reactors for the Shin-Ulchin Nuclear Power Plant units 1 and 2. Construction works were contracted to Hyundai Engineering and Construction, SK Engineering and Construction, and GS E&C Corporation through bidding process. Alstom will supply the emergency diesel generator (EDG) and generator circuit breaker.

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