Fuel loading has begun at unit 3 of the Tianwan nuclear power plant in China's Jiangsu province, Russian state nuclear company Rosatom has announced. The Russian-supplied VVER-1000 is scheduled to enter commercial operation next year.
The first of 163 fuel assemblies was loaded into the core of the VVER-1000 reactor on 18 August. Rosatom said once all the assemblies have been loaded, start up and commissioning work will be carried out. The reactor will then be brought to the "minimum controllable power level", followed by the start of power generation.
Andrey Lebedev, vice-president for projects in South Asia for ASE Group, said the "physical start up of the unit has been started ahead of schedule". He noted that the unit is expected to be connected to the grid by the end of 2017. Commercial operation of Tianwan 3 is planned for 2018.
China National Nuclear Corporation's (CNNC's) Tianwan 3 and 4 are AES-91 VVER-1000 units designed by Gidropress and supplied by Rosatom.
AtomStroyExport is the main contractor, supplying the nuclear island. First concrete for unit 3 was poured in December 2012, while construction of unit 4 began in September 2013.
Two similar VVER-1000 reactors (units 1 and 2) began operating at the site in 2007.
The State Council gave its approval for Tianwan units 5 and 6 - both featuring Chinese-designed 1080 MWe ACPR1000 reactors - on 16 December 2015. First safety-related concrete was poured for unit 5 later that month and for unit 6 in September 2016. Unit 5 is expected to enter commercial operation in December 2020 and unit 6 in October 2021.
The Tianwan plant is owned and operated by Jiangsu Nuclear Power Corporation, a joint venture between CNNC (50%), China Power Investment Corporation (30%) and Jiangsu Guoxin Group (20%).