First EPR, French civil nuclear reactor design, enters commercial operation19 December 2018

Taishan 1 and 2

The Taishan 1 EPR reactor in China, in Guangdong province, has now entered the commercial operation phase.

Following the first chain reaction which took place on 6 June 2018, then successful connection to the power grid on June 29 and the achievement of 100% power on October 30, this new milestone marks the final step of this major project.

This is the first of the so-called ‘Evolutionary Pressurised Reactor’ design to begin commercial operation. Comprising two 1750-MW EPR reactors, Taishan’s two reactors are capable of supplying the Chinese power grid with up to 24 TWh of low-carbon electricity a year, EDF said. It added that the Taishan nuclear power plant is the biggest cooperation project to have taken place between China and France in the energy sector.

EPR designer Framatome, which developed the reactor with electrical utility EDF, and Areva and Siemens, is involved in the construction and commissioning of five other EPR reactors worldwide: two units in the United Kingdom at Hinkley Point, another unit in China at Taishan, one unit in Finland at Olkiluoto and one unit in France at Flamanville.

EDF also said that Taishan 1 is providing EPR reactors around the world with its experience in project management and technological expertise. The first reactors to benefit from this experience are the two Hinkley Point C units. A 30-hour concrete pour for the first part of Hinkley Point C unit 1 took place in December. The two companies are also partners in the Sizewell C EPR project.

Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF chairman and chief executive officer, said: “The commissioning of Taishan 1, the world’s first EPR to enter into commercial operation, is a key achievement for the entire French nuclear industry as it demonstrates its capacity to develop this third-generation nuclear technology in line with the highest safety and quality standards. EPR is a major asset in addressing the challenge facing many countries: reconciling the growth of electricity demand with the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The Taishan project also illustrates our approach to developing EPRs worldwide, in cooperation with valued partners such as CGN.”

The pressurised water reactor uses the heat generated by enriched uranium to boil water and generate steam, which passes through heat exchangers to turn a steam turbine.

Will Dalrymple

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