China Starts Construction of HTR Demonstration Plant

Construction of China’s first high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTR) demonstration plant kicked off this April after pouring of concrete for the basemat of the Generation IV reactor was completed.

Though approved in 2005, China’s State Council suspended development of the Shidaowan-1 plant (Figure 4) in Shandong Province—a high-priority National Major Science and Technology project—following the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

4. Back to life. Basemat concrete pouring for China’s first twin high-temperature gas-cooled reactors was completed in April at the Shidaowan site in Shandong Province. Plans call for as many as 18 generation IV reactors to be built at the site. Courtesy: China Nuclear Engineering Corp.

According to the World Nuclear Association, the demonstration is expected to begin operating in 2017 and will feature twin HTR-PM (pebblebed module) units that will drive a single 210-MW turbine. At least 18 other HTR units are proposed for the Shidaowan site. Part of the Rongcheng Nuclear Power Industrial Park project, the site will also demonstrate CAP1400 units—which are domestically sourced advanced reactors based on Westinghouse’s AP1000 design.

The HTR-PM units, which are expected to lead to commercial versions, will use pebble bed fuel and helium coolant, each with a single steam generator.

The plant is being built by a joint venture led by China Huaneng Group (the country’s largest generator, but which has no nuclear capacity), China Nuclear Engineering & Construction Group, CNEC Corp, and Tsinghua University’s Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology. The engineering, procurement, and construction contract signed in 2008 involves Shanghai Electric Co. and Harbin Power Equipment Co.

Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)