First EPR nuclear reactor goes on stream in China

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PARIS, June 29, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – A third generation EPR nuclear reactor in China started providing power to the grid on Friday, a first for the new-generation technology, joint venture partners CGN and EDF said.

The European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) in Taishan, southern China, “became the first EPR reactor in the world to be successfully connected to the grid”, they said.

The reactor using the much-delayed European EPR technology had carried out its first nuclear chain reaction earlier this month.

China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) owns 51 percent of the reactor, French utility EDF 30 percent and Chinese provincial power company Yuedian 19 percent.

With EPRs in Finland and France facing setbacks, the Taishan 1 reactor in Guangdong province is the first of its kind to advance to the operational stage.

The reactor will now undergo a period of gradual power-up tests, and then will be tested in steady-state conditions at full power, the statement said.

A second reactor, Taishan 2, run by the same partners, is expected to enter service next year.

The dates for both reactors to start working had been pushed back several times.

“Local defects” were found last year in Taishan 1’s deaerator, a device used to remove oxygen from water circuits.

Last September Britain gave the green light, with conditions, to EDF and CGN to build another such reactor at Hinkley Point in southwest England, after a heated debate which included worries over China’s involvement.

That reactor is not expected to be completed until the mid 2020s.

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