China Nuclear News Weekly Roundup - 07/30 - 08/03
NNSA Conducts Nuclear Safety Review of Sanmen Unit 2 for its First Criticality Hold Point Release
An NNSA inspection team recently visited Sanmen NPP and conducted a nuclear safety review on whether to release Unit 2 from its first criticality hold point. The inspection team listened to reports on the plant’s fuel-loading operations, first criticality preparations, commissioning and operational status of related equipment, and its handling of outstanding concerns. This meeting was followed by field inspections and further discussion of concerned issues. This review is an important step in the decision-making process to release Sanmen Unit 2 from its first criticality hold point.
August 06 Update: NNSA earlier today announced the release of the hold point for Sanmen Unit 2's first criticality.
SNPTC: Sanmen & Haiyang Units Will Have Higher On-grid Tariffs than Initially Proposed
SNPTC has recently revealed the latest developments of its AP1000 units. “Sanmen Unit 1 is now at 75% power and all performance indicators meet design requirements. We project that it will begin commercial operation before the end of the year. Haiyang Unit 2 is expected to load fuel for the first time this month following the completion of fuel-loading at Haiyang 1 and Sanmen 2.” Said Mr. Li Shaogang, Vice Director of SNPTC’s General Affairs Office. Addressing the project’s repeated schedule delays, Xie Jianxun, Manager of the Engineering Management Department, said that the latest calculated total costs of the Sanmen and Haiyang projects are now both at approximately RMB 50 billion, 10 billion more Yuan than the initial 40 billion estimate. Xie also said that cost overruns are commonly seen in the international nuclear industry for a first-of-a-kind reactor design. Therefore, the on-grid tariffs for both projects will be higher than initial valuation, although final figures have yet to be determined. Regarding future new (C)AP1000 builds, Zhang Shujun, General Manager of the Equipment and Fuel Management Department, is optimistic about construction schedules: “the first locally manufactured canned-motor pump has already been jointly produced by Shenyang Blower and Harbin Electric, and its test results so far are all satisfactory. Additionally, the pump is currently undergoing a tear-down inspection.” He thinks that the pump, which is considered “localized key equipment”, will no longer be cause for schedule delay, as was the case with Sanmen Unit 1. Localization of the AP1000 has proceeded at a steady rate. Sanmen Unit 1 was only able to localize 25% of its manufacture and construction, while the number for Haiyang Unit 2 is 70%. The average localization rate is about 55% for the four units at Sanmen & Haiyang. “China now has the capability to manufacture 6-8 sets of AP/CAP equipment per year,” said Zhang. While speaking on the subject of AP series status updates, Li Shaogang also added that the CAP1400 demo project is ready to begin construction.
Shanghai Electric May Halt its Takeover of Karachi Electric Due to Low Local Tariffs
Shanghai Electric released an announcement on July 28th stating, “due to the potentially volatile local tariffs and its impact on the profitability of the subject company, SEC may terminate the deal.” Karachi Electric is the transmission company for Karachi Province of Pakistan, and the lower than expected local tariffs is believed to be the main reason for Shanghai Electric’s hesitation. Pakistan is seen as a “model country” along the Belt & Road Initiative route and the termination of such a deal may lead to second guesses and similar results. There is also suspicion that SEC’s hesitation may also have something to do with the recent Pakistani election.