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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Pakistan’s K2 nuclear reactor using Chinese technology completes thermal testing

Pakistan's nuclear power plant K2 in Karachi, powered by Hualong one technology has completed thermal testing bringing it a step closer to being functional

China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) said that the K2 unit at the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant in Pakistan has successfully completed Hot Functional Tests (HFT). The power plant is the first overseas unit using China’s homegrown Hualong One technology.

The tests have laid a solid foundation for subsequent major processes, including nuclear fuel loading and grid-connected power generation, China Global Television Network (CGTN) reported on Sunday quoting a CNNC official.

HFT plays major role in the construction of nuclear power plant

HFT plays a significant role in the construction of the nuclear power project, simulating the actual operating conditions of the nuclear power plant. This is done to verify the reliability of the main equipment and systems under the thermal conditions before the nuclear reactor is loaded with nuclear fuel.

These testings are necessary and are a significant hurdle to be crossed in order to achieve nuclear power capabilities.

Read more: China pushing to double nuclear warhead arsenal, develop air-launched ballistic missiles: Pentagon

It is also a comprehensive inspection of the quality of the reactor coolant system equipment, pipeline sealing and welding, as well as the design, manufacture, and installation of relevant systems. Other tests regarding the performance of the power station are also conducted.

Hualong One technology, also known as HPR1000, is one of the third-generation nuclear power designs with the highest acceptability in the current nuclear power market, and a significant landmark achievement of China’s innovative development of nuclear power.

The Hualong One double-layer containment shell can withstand the impact of large aircraft, according to China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).

The outer dome is “currently the largest shell structure of nuclear power plants under construction in the world”, the company said. It has the characteristics of a large structural span, dense steel bars and high-strength concrete.

Nuclear power is a clean source of energy; producing much less population than other conventional modes of creating energy. More projects like this would mean that Pakistan would have to rely less on environmentally hazardous energy sources.

Hualong One technology has six units under construction

Construction of two Hualong One (HPR1000) units is also underway at China General Nuclear’s Fangchenggang plant in the Guangxi Autonomous Region. Those units are also expected to start up in 2022.

Two HPR1000 units are under construction at Pakistan’s Karachi nuclear power plant. Construction began on Karachi unit 2 in 2015 and unit 3 in 2016; the units are planned to enter commercial operation in 2021 and 2022. The HPR1000 has also been proposed for construction at Bradwell in the UK, where it is undergoing Generic Design Assessment.

“At present, China National Nuclear Corporation’s five Hualong One units under construction at home and abroad are progressing in an orderly manner, and the safety and quality of the construction project are under good control,” CNNC said.

The Hualong One was developed by the China General Nuclear Power Group (CGNPG) and the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) based on the ACPR1000 and the ACP1000 designs. Both are three-loop designs originally based on the same French M310 design.

Read more: ‘Sabotage’ behind Natanz nuclear site blast, says Iran

 In early 2014 it was announced that the merged design was moving from preliminary design to detailed design. Power output will be 1170 MWe gross, 1090 MWe net, with a 60-year design life, and would use a combination of passive and active safety systems with a double containment.

Initially, the merged design was to be called the ACC1000, but ultimately it was named Hualong One. In August 2014 the Chinese nuclear regulator review panel classified the design as a Generation III reactor design, with independently owned intellectual property rights.

Currently, six units at home and abroad powered by Hualong One technology are under construction, whose safety and quality are well controlled.

On August 31 local time, the outer containment dome of the K3 unit at the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant was successfully installed, and the main structure of the nuclear power plant was completed.

The number 5 unit of China’s Fuqing Nuclear Power Plant, the world’s first pilot project using Hualong One technology, started nuclear fuel loading the same day.

GVS News Desk