CGN Power Announces Delays At Taishan Project

China General Nuclear Power, a China General Nuclear subsidiary, informed investors this week that the start of two European Pressurized Rectors (EPR) at Taishan, China, would be delayed by six months with the starts of Taishan Units 1 and 2 not scheduled for the second half of 2017 and the first half of 2018, respectively.

Taishan NPPTaishan Nuclear recently organized a comprehensive evanuation on subsequent engineering construction plan and relevant risk, and after due consideration, it is decided to adjust the construction plan of Taishan project,” the company said in a statement that was delivered to the Hong Kong stock exchange early this week.

The project, which is a joint effort of CGN and Electricite de France (EDF), will not affect the scheduled start, in 2018, of the Flamanville 3 project in Normandy, France, an EDF spokesperson said, according to news service AFP.

Construction continues at Flamanville, but concerns over high carbon concentrations in the lower and upper pressure vessel head, discovered during inspections in 2016, have cast a shadow over the project. French regulator, ANS – the Nuclear Safety Authority – has not yet issued a ruling on how EDF should react to the anomalies in the vessel head steel.

Considered a third-generation, advanced design, there are no EPR completed and operating yet anywhere and the six-month delay in China intensified the drama over which reactor out of two in China and two in Europe will be switched on first, although without further delays Taishan Unit 1, which is in the commission phase of the project, is the furthest along. The long-delayed EPR Olkiluoto project in Finland, however, is expected to start up in 2018, as is the new unit in France.

Despite the delays in France and Finland, EDF is going ahead with plans to build EPR reactors at Hinkley Point C in Britain, a project where earth moving has begun, but construction has not officially begun.

More critical than which reactor is switched on first, industry executives will be paying attention to which company got the job of construction done fastest. Construction at Olkiluoto began in 2005, which construction at Flamanville began in 2007. Construction of the two EPR reactors at Taishan began in 2009. 

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