First Westinghouse AP1000 Enters Commercial Operations

Westinghouse Electric Company and its customers, China State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) and CNNC Sanmen Nuclear Power Company Limited (SMNPC) announced Thursday that the world's first AP1000 plant located in Sanmen, Zhejiang Province, China, is now considered "fully operational."

Sanmen NPPThe AP1000 plant features a passive safety design, harnessing the laws of nature including gravity and convection to support safe and efficient plant performance. The AP1000 plant is designed to safely and automatically shut down without operator action for up to 72 hours in the event of a design-basis incident. Additionally, Sanmen 1 and the AP1000 fleet effectively incorporate Westinghouse's leading digital instrumentation and controls designed to improve reliability and safety through an integrated, plant-wide approach.

The global AP1000 fleet is comprised of Sanmen 1 as well as five additional nuclear power plants progressing through construction, testing and start-up. The projects progressing through testing and start-up include a second unit in Sanmen, Zhejiang Province, and two units in Haiyang, Shandong Province, all in China.  Additionally, there are two units currently under construction at the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant near Waynesboro, Georgia, USA. 

The Sanmen Unit 1 reactor was connected to the grid in late June, one day after the first EPR (European Pressurized Reactor), Taishan Unit 1, was also connected to the grid.

Both designs have been plagued by construction delays. The Sanmen plant was authorized in September 2007 along with the two-reactor power polant in Haiyang in Shandong province. Construction began in April 2009 for Sanmen 1, while concrete pouring for Sanmen 2 was initiated in December 2009.

For Sanmen 1, hot testing was completed in June 2017. First criticality was obtained on June 21.

"Many years have been dedicated to successfully bringing the first AP1000 unit to life," said José Emeterio Gutiérrez, Westinghouse president and chief executive officer. "Our Westinghouse design and technology is now live and generating safe, clean energy," he said.

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