South Korean Grid Connects World’s First APR1400 Nuclear Reactor

The world’s first 1,400-MW Advanced Pressurized Reactor (APR1400), a South Korean Generation III design, has now been connected to the grid.

Nearly eight years since construction kicked off in October 2008—despite years of delays posed by delivery delays and a crippling documentation scandal that required cabling replacements—Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP) put Shin Kori 3 (Figure 2) online on January 15. A twin reactor at Shin Kori 4 is expected to start up in 2017.

apr1400

2. First rate. Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP) in January put online the Shin Kori 3 nuclear reactor; Shin Kori 4 is expected to start up next year. Although many more APR1400 reactors are under construction, this is the first one connected to the grid. Courtesy: KHNP

Meanwhile, two more APR1400s are under construction at Shin Hanul (Units 1 and 2) and should come online between April 2017 and February 2018.

According to state-owned KHNP, the APR1400 evolved from the “well-proven” OPR1000 Korean Standard Nuclear Power Plant design, taking just 10 years and 234.6 billion won ($193 million) to develop. The advanced design incorporates a number of modifications and improvements to meet the utility’s needs for “enhanced safety and economic goals and to address the new licensing issues such as mitigation of severe accidents.” KHNP also noted that the APR1400 has been developed to meet 43 basic design requirements, such as 4,000 MW rated thermal power, a 60-year lifetime, and lower probabilities of core damage and accidental radiation release than the country’s OPR1000 plants.

The reactor design won the Korean Institute of Nuclear Safety’s design certification in May 2003. After construction began on the Shin Kori reactors, KHNP, which is spearheading efforts to export the design, struck a $20 billion deal with the United Arab Emirates for four APR1400s.

Those reactors are already under construction at Barakah. All are scheduled to be in operation by 2020. The first is reportedly more than 75% complete and is expected to come online in 2017. (For more on that project, see “Oil- and Gas-Rich UAE Banks on Nuclear Power” in the January issue.)

For KHNP, the grid connection is a tremendous achievement. Despite delays, the APR1400 is one of the world’s first Generation III+ reactors to be grid connected. The company noted that eight Westinghouse AP1000s and four AREVA EPRs are being built in the U.S., France, China, and Finland, “but the construction is being delayed for at least [one] year to over 10 years.”

In related news, in January, Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima Oy, for whom AREVA is building a 1.6-GW EPR in a project that is nine years behind schedule and almost three times over budget, announced it would submit an operating license application for Olkiluoto 3 to the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy by April. Difficulty in getting approval for the instrumentation and control system’s design from the Finnish Radiation & Nuclear Safety Authority is one key reason for the project’s delay.

In China, the containment water tank for the second Westinghouse AP1000 reactor under construction at Sanmen in China’s Zhejiang province was installed on December 27. Sanmen 1 is now expected to begin operating in September 2016, and Sanmen 2 could come online by the end of 2017.

Sonal Patel is a POWER associate editor.