AP1000 Nuclear Plant Construction Still On Schedule in China

Despite delays brought on by regulatory changes in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi crisis, Chinese authorities say they still expect to complete the world’s first Westinghouse AP1000 reactor next year.

On Saturday, State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation board chairman Wang Binghua said the Sanmen unit 1 project remains on track to begin operation in 2013. Reactor projects along China’s coast have been delayed by six months to a year AP1000 conceptual drawingfollowing the accidents at Fukushima, which prompted safety reviews, additional design requirements for the AP1000 and a moratorium on new reactor licensing since March. Even as China’s leaders begin to review the reports and refine their nuclear regulations, Wang said a revised construction schedule and the robust AP1000 design would allow the on-time completion of Sanmen 1.

"Both the SNPTC and Westinghouse have agreed that the new reactors are able to survive the same shock experienced by the Japanese plant," Wang was quoted as saying by the state-controlled Xinhua news agency.

Reactor construction for Sanmen 1 began in 2009. The unit is the first of several AP1000 reactors planned or under construction in China. The furthest along include a second unit at Sanmen and two more at the Haiyang plant. Toshiba subsidiary Westinghouse, which designed the generation III+ reactor, and the Shaw Group are overseeing construction at Sanmen and Haiyang under wide-ranging engineering and project management contracts. The AP1000s are among more than two dozen units currently under construction in China, according to the World Nuclear Association.

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