AECL's CANDU 6 reactor achieves first criticality in China
26 September 2002
(Copyright Canada NewsWire 2002)
TORONTO, Sept. 26 /CNW/ - The People's Republic of China's first CANDU(R) reactor reached criticality on Friday September 20, 2002. Critically, also known as a sustained nuclear reaction, is a key milestone in progress toward the full commercial operation of a new reactor.
The criticality test was completed at Atomic Energy of Canada's (AECL) Qinshan site, located about 125 kilometres southwest of Shanghai. It will be followed by a series of low-power tests of the reactor's major components and operating systems. Once these tests are complete, the reactor's power levels will be raised in anticipation of full commercial operation.
The Qinshan CANDU project began construction in 1997 after a successful Team Canada visit, when officials from business and the government of Canada, including Prime Minister Jean Chretien, signed an agreement between the China National Nuclear Corporation and AECL.
Dr. Ken Petrunik, Vice President and Director for AECL's Qinshan CANDU Project, said the CANDU 6 unit in China achieved criticality three weeks ahead of the project schedule. "The construction schedule from first concrete to criticality is just over 51 months and represents the shortest construction schedule for any nuclear power plant built in China," Dr. Petrunik said. "This is especially significant as it is the first CANDU unit."
Dr. Petrunik said the achievement is the result of excellent teamwork among AECL, the Chinese owner (Third Qinshan Nuclear Power Company), Chinese construction contractors and AECL's major international subcontractors, Canatom NPM of Canada, Hitachi of Japan and Bechtel of the USA.
Work continues on bringing the first of the 728-megawatt CANDU 6 units to full power by the end of 2002. A second CANDU reactor is scheduled to go into full service in Qinshan by November, 2003.
AECL's CANDU 6 is one of the world's most successful power reactor designs. It will deliver 728 megawatts of reliable, emissions-free electricity to this heavily industrialized area of China. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited designs, markets and services CANDU power reactors and has more than 4,000 employees at offices and laboratories in Montreal, Mississauga, Chalk River, Ontario and Pinawa, Manitoba, and at sites in Haiyan, China and Cernavoda, Romania. AECL delivers R&D support, nuclear services, design and engineering construction management, specialist technology and waste management and decommissioning in support of CANDU reactor products.