Three Westinghouse-designed AP1000 reactors are on track for completion and initial operations in 2018 with the announcement this week that Unit 2 at the Sanmen nuclear power plant had completed its hot testing, a preliminary step towards loading fuel into the reactor.
The so-called hot tests were completed in 77 days, according to the World Nuclear Association.
Cold tests, which precede the hot tests, involve running water through the cooling system to test for leaks throughout the system and to assess correct pumping and valve operations. The hot tests are similar, but involve operating the cooling system under conditions – pressure and temperature – that mimic what the plant will be subjected to when the reactor is active.
Sanmen Unit 1 is likely to be the first AP1000 reactor to go operational. Unit 2 at Sanmen is also expected to start operations this year. In addition, two AP1000 units are under construction at the Haiyang nuclear power plant in Shandong province. The first of those is expected to begin operations this year, while Unit 2 at Haiyang is expected to begin fuel loading and operations in 2019.
The design is the same as the two reactors under construction at Plant Vogtle in Waynesbnoro, Ga.
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