The unit 3 reactor at the Hongyanhe nuclear power plant in China's Liaoning province is closer to commissioning after achieving a sustained chain reaction.
The 1080MWe Chinese-designed CPR-1000 pressurised water reactor achieved first criticality on 27 October, China General Nuclear Power Co (CGN) and China Power Investment Corp (CPI) announced. The milestone means "the unit officially entered the operational phase with power," said CGN.
Physical tests at zero power are currently underway at the unit to "validate core performance, nuclear instrumentation monitoring system equipment availability and correctness of core loading," CPI said.
Construction of Phase I of the Hongyanhe plant, comprising four CPR-1000 units, began in August 2009, reports World Nuclear News. Unit 1 began commercial operation in June 2013. Unit 2 was synchronised to the grid in late November 2013 and entered commercial operation in May. Unit 3 is scheduled to begin operating later this year, while unit 4 is expected to start up by the end of 2015.
A ceremony to mark the breaking of ground for Phase II of the Hongyanhe plant - comprising a further two CPR-1000 units - was held in July 2010. All six units at the site are expected to be in operation by the end of 2020.
The plant is owned and operated by Liaoning Hongyanhe Nuclear Power Co, a joint venture in which CGN and CPI each hold a 45% stake, with the Dalian Municipal Construction Investment Co holding the remaining 10%.