The world’s first Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR) in Guangdong province, China, has entered into operation, boosting hopes for success at Hinkley Point C, which will deploy a similar reactor.
The Taishan Unit 1 1755MW reactor is one of two EPR reactors to be built at Taishan, the largest power generation unit ever constructed. The reactor achieved criticality in June and has now entered commercial operation.
The success of the first Taishan EPR reactor is a vote of confidence for the EPR technology, which will also be deployed at Hinkley Point C.
The Taishan project is a joint venture involving CGN and EDF Group in much the same way as Hinkley Point C, which is also being developed by the JV.
Unit 1 started construction in 2009, followed by Unit 2 in 2010.
CGN UK chief executive Zheng Dongshan said the Taishan project gives confidence to the future success of Hinkley Point C.
“Today is a historic day for EPR technology, as Taishan Unit 1 takes the final step along its journey to commercial operation,” he said.
“The success of the project shows what CGN and EDF can achieve by working collaboratively. The fact that we are able to bring expertise to this country from Taishan gives us even greater confidence in the Hinkley Point C project and the EPR reactors we are building together there.”
EPR’s are the third generation of pressurised water reactors, which were first designed as propulsion plants for nuclear submarines. The main advantages of the EPRs are increased safety and economic competitiveness.
The EPR design has core safety features including an extra container and cooling area if a molten core manages to escape the reactor and a two-layer concrete wall, designed to withstand impact by aeroplanes and internal overpressure.
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