Two newly built reactors reached important milestones in the past week. Reports say the second unit of the Ling Ao phase II nuclear plant in China’s Guangdong Province was connected to the grid on May 3, while Russian state-owned Atomstroyexport said Iran’s Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant achieved criticality on May 8 and is now functioning at the minimum controlled power level.

China’s Ling Ao II Unit 4—a CPR-1000 pressurized water reactor (PWR)—is now undergoing final tests before officially starting up on June 15, the World Nuclear News (WNN) reported, citing the China Gaungdong Nuclear Power Company (CGNPC). The reactor will reportedly start up precisely five years after construction began in 2006.

As POWER reported last year, the first Ling Ao phase II unit began commercial operation in late September, making it the first CPR-1000 ever built. The CPR-1000 is an “improved Chinese pressurized water reactor” technology based on an AREVA-derived three-loop design.

The reactor is planned for wide deployment in China: 17 CPR-1000s are under construction and work will begin on five more in 2011, as WNN notes.

According to Atomstroyexport, Russia’s reactor-building arm, final commissioning tests will be undertaken at the Bushehr nuclear power plant before operators can ramp-up to 100%. Reports say the plant could be connected to the national grid within the next two months.

Construction of the Bushehr reactor was begun in the 1970s by a German consortium, but work at the site, though the reactor was almost complete, came to a halt after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Russia reached a $1 billion deal with Iran to complete the unit as a VVER-1000 in 1994.

Sources: POWERnews, POWER, Atomstroyexport, WNN