Defects found at China nuclear reactor project

BEIJING – Defects were found in equipment for a third-generation nuclear reactor under construction in southern China with the problematic parts being replaced, the state-owned China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) said Wednesday.

The issue concerned equipment used in one of two new European Pressurised Reactors (EPR), large units designed to offer improved power and safety.

With EPRs in Finland and France facing setbacks, the Chinese Taishan 1 and 2 are on track to become the first working reactors of their kind in the world.

But “local defects” were recently found in Taishan 1’s deaerator, a device used to remove oxygen from water circuits, CGN – which manages the project alongside French state utility EDF – told AFP in an email. Problems were “discovered in the non-bearing welding line of the internal support of (Taishan 1’s) deaerator”, CGN said. The deaerator is located “outside the nuclear zone”, it added, noting that “replacement measures” are being taken.

The two reactors under construction in Taishan, southern Guangdong province, are 51 percent owned by CGN, 30 percent owned by EDF and 19 percent owned by the province’s electrical utility firm.

Taishan 1 is slated to go onstream before the end of the year.

Britain in September also gave the green light, with conditions, to EDF and CGN to build another such reactor at England’s Hinkley Point, after a heated debate which included worries over China’s involvement.


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