China Nuclear Authority Installs New Module at Sanmen Plant

Sanmen Nuclear Power Plant in Zhejiang Province, China
Sanmen Nuclear Power Plant in Zhejiang Province, China

China’s state-run nuclear power and development company has officially installed the largest operational module at the Sanmen Nuclear Power Plant in Zhejiang province.

The China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) reported that a series of hoisting operations that culminated on the morning of August 16th moved the cuboid CA20 module into place. The module weighed approximately 1,000 tons and needed to be carried to the site with a 2,600-ton crawler crane. More than 1,376 cubic meters of concrete will be poured into the site to fill the module’s walls.

The module is 20.5 meters long, 14.1 meters wide, and has a height of 20.9 meters.

The CA20 module is made up of operational equipment for the storage of used fuel, transmission, the plant’s heat exchanger, as well as its waste collection facility. 

Works in Progress

Last April 20th, China’s State Council approved the construction of new reactors at the Sanmen, Haiyang, and Lufeng nuclear power sites. Those approved for construction were Sanmen units 3 and 4, Haiyang units 3 and 4, and Lufeng units 5 and 6.

Before the said approval, Sanmen and Haiyang each had two Westinghouse AP1000 units installed on their premises. But for the next round of installations, locally-developed and produced CAP1000 reactors will be placed at the said facilities.

A month after the approval, the CNCC signed off on the civil construction of the nuclear islands for the impending second phase of development of both the San men and Haiyang nuclear plants, as well as the necessary installation engineering. 

Civil construction for the nuclear island for Sanmen’s second phase will be handled by China Nuclear Industry 22 Construction Company; meanwhile, China Nuclear Industry 24 Construction Company will handle the same for Haiyang Phase II’s nuclear island.

The China Nuclear Industry Fifth Construction Company (CNI5) will handle the nuclear island installation work overall.

Last June 28th, the pouring of concrete for Sanmen 3’s nuclear island marked the official start of construction.

A Brief History

Sanmen’s initial phase – Sanmen I – began operations in 2018 and has the distinction of being the first AP1000 to start up. The plant achieved first criticality on June 22nd of the same year and grid connection on July 2nd.

The plant became fully operational on August 14th, 2018, and began commercial operation a month later on September 21st.

Sanmen II, on the other hand, gained the first criticality on August 17th, 2018, connected to the grid a week later and entered commercial operation in November of that year.