China's Areva-Designed Nuclear Reactors to Start Up in 2017

  • Taishan No. 1 to begin in 1st half of 2017, No. 2 in 2nd half
  • Startup of reactors previously delayed due to safety issues

Two Areva SA-designed nuclear reactors in the southern Chinese city of Taishan will begin operating next year, about three years behind schedule.

QuickTake Nuclear Power

Construction of the No. 1 reactor is complete and testing has begun in preparation for commercial operations in the first half of next year, Gao Ligang, president of CGN Power Co., the company building the unit, told reporters in Hong Kong on Tuesday. The No. 2 reactor is in the ”equipment installation” stage and is expected to enter commercial operations in the second half of 2017, Gao said.

China is poised to be the first nation to operate a so-called EPR unit, a third-generation reactor that produces more electricity than the average unit. China said in January the startup of the units about 90 miles (145 kilometers) from Hong Kong was delayed while Areva conducted tests on an EPR being built in France that had weaker-than-expected steel in part of the reactor vessel.

Overcoming the delays would be a shot in the arm for China’s ambitious plan of roughly doubling its nuclear power capacity by 2020. The chairman of China General Nuclear Power Co., He Yu, said earlier this month that the nation is building too few reactors and won’t be able to meet its goal.

Construction of Taishan No. 1 began in November 2009, while Taishan No. 2 started in April 2010. The plants were expected to begin operating in 2014 and 2015.

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