Seize the Preemptive Opportunities of Building Generation III Reactors and Promote the Safe and High-efficient Development of Nuclear Power

发表于:2011-11-20 | 来源:| 访问数:2147

By Gu Jun

Delivered at the “The High-end Forum on China’s Nuclear Power Development in the Post-Fukushima Era”

On October 28, “The High-end Forum on China’s Nuclear Power Development in the Post-Fukushima Era” was jointly held by China Nuclear Energy Association (CNEA) and China Energy Research Society (CERS) in Beijing. More than 60 representatives from ministries and commissions, enterprises and universities attended the forum. Gu Jun, general manager of State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC), also attended the forum and made a speech at the forum. The following is the main content of his speech.

In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident, nuclear power in the world is faced with the new trend of polarization, adjustment and reshuffling. Today, China has the most nuclear power plants under construction and the speed of China’s nuclear power development is the fastest in the world. In the next ten years, China will be faced with the historic mission of how to achieve the transformation of its nuclear power development from big to strong. As a platform for the introduction, absorption and re-innovation of Generation III nuclear power technology AP 1000, State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) bears a bounden responsibility for this historic mission. SNPTC would like to cooperate with our brother units and peers, make concerted efforts and strive to develop a comprehensive capability of batch-scale construction of Generation III reactors made and owned by ourselves. This kind of comprehensive capability should be ensured by the most advanced safety standards and supported by the localized and self-reliant nuclear power industrial chain. Only by doing so can we achieve the transformation of our nuclear power industry from big to strong.

I. The overall construction of AP1000 self-reliance supporting project is progressing smoothly in China and our country has already become a frontrunner in the application and innovation of Generation III nuclear power technology in the world.

Since the Authorization to Proceed (ATP) of AP1000 supporting project entered into force on December 31, 2007, SNPTC has been cooperating with Westinghouse Consortium, supporting project owners, constructors and equipment manufacturers, overcoming adversaries and difficulties, and advancing the construction of supporting project’s four units together. Up until now, the first unit of Zhejiang Sanmen Nuclear Power Plant has entered the comprehensive main equipment installation stage: the pressure vessel has already been put in place; the other main equipment has been successively transported to the site; the steel containment vessel will be completed roof-sealing work at the end of this year according to plan. Although the construction of supporting project’s four units has been affected by the design laggings and frequent changes and the supply postponements of some localized equipment, the overall project is well under way, controllable and under control at present through taking the measures of optimization of project construction plan, coordination of domestic and international equipment supply, etc.. There is no big unforeseeable factor anymore for the future project schedule and the first unit can satisfy the conditions of commencing operation on schedule.

At present, the well-observed development and manufacturing of AP1000 canned motor main pump is in a controllable state. Several minor problems have occurred during the pre-project tests of main pump, but these problems have been already solved successfully. As to the problem of the finger pressure plate’s temperature irregularities occurred during its recent durability test, the manufacturer, EMD, has already found a solution for the problem and successfully conducted principle verification test. According to plan, the durability test will be resumed in the middle of this December and the first batch of main pumps will be delivered in next May. SNPTC has been participating in the process of tests and problem-solving of these technical difficulties all the way. We are confident that the delivery time of main pumps can satisfy the demand time required by the project construction. In the process of constructing Generation III nuclear power technology self-reliance supporting project, the advanced concepts of AP1000 technology have gradually taken roots in China through constant exploration and innovation. Our country is the first to master the advanced technology of mass concrete whole construction for the basemat of nuclear island of nuclear power plant. We have conquered a whole set of technology of the manufacturing of steel containment vessel for AP1000 nuclear island, mastered the technology of AP1000 modular design and manufacturing, and realized the modular construction as well. At the same time, we are advancing the localization of key equipment through technology transfer and organizing equipment manufacturers to make joint research and development. Despite facing many obstacles, the work of localization is progressing at a fast pace. At present, we have made a basic breakthrough in the manufacturing technology of heavy forgings for the key equipment of Generation III nuclear power reactors and have broken the monopoly of foreign companies in the market of high-end heavy forgings. Under the premise of ensuring most main equipment self-made, we have manufactured some equipment through joint ventures or imported some equipment from foreign companies with regard to those which cannot be localized in China at present. Thus, a complete supply chain for Generation III nuclear power equipment has been basically formed in China.

Meanwhile, we are clearly aware that it is a pioneering work to advance the first AP1000 nuclear reactor from drawings to engineering practices. In the process of advancing localization development, it is unavoidable for the first mover to encounter some problems. However, solving these problems can help us better understand and master the technology and lay a foundation for developing our own nuclear power technology.

At present, all the technical problems in the fields of engineering design, equipment manufacturing, construction and building, etc. have been gradually solved in practice. The “Safety, Quality, Cost and Schedule” of the first unit is in a controllable state. By and large, our country has already basically formed the technology and engineering conditions for the batch construction of AP1000 reactors. At present, we have the capability of commencing construction of 4-6 AP1000 reactors. Next year, the supporting project’s first reactor will begin the commissioning of its main system. After that, our capacity of batch construction will be further enhanced.

II. Actively and orderly advance the standardization of design, localization of key equipment and batch construction of units for Generation III nuclear power technology by drawing the industry-wide efforts.

Before the Fukushima nuclear accident, world major nuclear power nations have already stopped building Generation II nuclear power plant. After the Fukushima nuclear accident, the upgrading pace of the world nuclear power is speeding up and Generation III nuclear power technology is comprehensively entering the stage of commercial application and expansion. In the new period, besides its role of ensuring energy security and environment safety, nuclear power should be placed in the height of fostering strategic emerging industry and new growth point in our national economy. We should direct our attention to raise the overall contribution of nuclear power to our national economic and social development. Looking at the overall international and domestic new situations and new requirements, in the next ten years we should adhere to the strategy of advancing the standardization, localization and batch construction of nuclear power plants from a high starting point and appropriately arrange the batch speed and overall scale of the construction of nuclear power plants which should be integrated with the constraint of factor resources in our nuclear power industry and with the speed of localization of nuclear power.

First, adhere to the strategy of developing nuclear power in accordance with the most advanced safety standards. After the Fukushima nuclear accident, the issue of nuclear power safety has become the focus of world attention and the global nuclear power safety standards will be raised significantly. The Four Principles made by the State Council specifically requires adopting the most advanced standards to check all the nuclear power plants in operation or under construction. We believe that the development of nuclear power should keep up with the times, adapt to the trend of technological development, make safety as the fundamental principle, adhere to the most advanced safety standards, conform with the international advanced safety standards, restore the public’s confidence, make the government and international society at ease, and creates a policy and media environment that is favorable to the sustainable development of nuclear power. To be more specific, we should use the latest safety standards released by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) as a benchmark, use the latest nuclear safety standards made by American and European strong nuclear power nations as a reference, further enhance and improve our country’s current nuclear safety laws and regulations, and lay a solid system guarantee for ensuring our country’s nuclear power safety.

After the Fukushima nuclear accident, world major nuclear power nations have conducted relevant pressure test or evaluation of nuclear power plants in operation or under construction and new generation nuclear power technology one after another. According to the feedbacks received from the American side, among current various kinds of Generation III nuclear power technology, AP1000 and ESBWR are the two kinds of reactors confirmed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Committee (NRC) whose design certifications do not need to undergo delays in approval and legislature. On August 6, NRC signed the Final Safety Evaluation Report on the AP1000 design supplementary document permit application. The U.S. NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards has evaluated the Final Safety Evaluation Report and concluded that the new design can be used in construction and operation and can appropriately ensure no additional risks posed to public health and safe production. It is estimated that Westinghouse Electric Company would receive the Design Certification of Revision 19 of AP1000 DCD early next year at the latest.

At present, most of important design changes in Revision 19 of AP1000 DCD have been adopted by the design of our country’s AP1000 self-reliance supporting project except the changes in structure design to withstand the large commercial aircraft crash (because there is currently no such requirement in our country’s relevant laws and regulations) and non-applicable sites (because the plant sites for our country’s supporting project belongs to hard bedrock plant site whose foundation rock mass has a higher shear wave velocity). In addition, the NRC has signed the Final Safety Evaluation Report on the combined construction and operating license (COL) application for AP1000 reactors for Southern Company’s Vogtle project. The Vogtle project will receive a construction permit in this December or next January.

After the Fukushima nuclear accident, according to the requirements of relevant national administrative departments, we, together with Westinghouse Company, have independently conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the safety of AP1000 reactors based on the external events in the Fukushima nuclear accident. The two independent evaluations from both sides reached the same conclusion that AP1000 reactors can absolutely withstand “station blackout” caused by multiple natural disasters like those that struck the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Facts have proven that the strategy of introducing AP1000 technology, integrating technology routes and realizing independent nuclear power development from a high starting point is a forward-looking strategic decision made by the Party Central Committee and the State Council. At the present time, we are actively doing optimization for the localized AP1000 standard design and the major special project CAP1400 design through integrating the above mentioned evaluation conclusions and the U.S. NRC’s evaluation suggestions for AP1000 with Chinese reality.

Second, promote the batch construction of our nuclear power plants based on standardization. Standardization is conducive to the sustained improvement of technology and the safety, quality and cost control. It is also a general mode adopted by world strong nuclear power nations in their scale construction of nuclear power plants. Under the deployment made by the National Development and Reform Commission, SNPTC launched the work of localized AP1000 nuclear power standard design in February, 2008. At present, the standard design covers 80% of design work for an AP1000 nuclear power plant. On the basis of the standard design, the remaining 20% of design work can be completed through integrating with specific conditions of a plant site. In this way, the design work could satisfy the need of constructing multi-projects simultaneously. In order to prevent the problem of decentralized efforts and repetitive designs, Generation III nuclear power technology AP1000 should adopt a unified standardization design; establish a management system and technology platform for unified application and expansion of standardization design; and carry out the batch construction mode of “Construct one Batch, Improve one Batch, Construct another Batch and Improve another Batch” and the mutual beneficial business mode which organized and coordinated by government administrative departments, organized and implemented by SNPTC, and participated by the whole industry.

Third, raise the capability for and level of key equipment localization driven by batch construction. To introduce AP1000 technology and comprehensively raise the manufacturing capacity for the localization and self-reliance of nuclear power key equipment is an important link in promoting the safe and high-efficient development of nuclear power. Since the contract became effective in 2007, under the leadership of the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration, SNPTC actively organize and coordinate domestic manufacturers to advance the localization work for AP1000 Generation III nuclear power equipment. Although there are a lot of difficulties which result in long delays in the delivery of latter two reactors for the supporting project, we have basically developed a capability for the localization of Generation III nuclear power key equipment through a short several years’ concerted effort. In particular, our technology of high-end heavy forgings has broken the foreign monopoly and nuclear island key equipment such as main pipeline, pressure vessel, steam generator, etc. have already overcome technical difficulties and entered the production stage. The practices in latest several years have shown that the high standards and high requirements for the manufacturing of Generation III nuclear power equipment have effectively raised the overall capacity and level of our equipment manufacturing industry. The batch construction of Generation III nuclear power plants will effectively promote the localization and re-innovation capability of our equipment manufacturing industry, which will have a far-reaching significance for China moving from “a big manufacturing nation” to “a strong manufacturing nation”.

Fourth, actively advance the construction work for the demonstration project of major special project CAP1400. Prior to the Fukushima nuclear accident, the conceptual design of CAP1400 has been completed and also passed the National Energy Administration Expert Team’s evaluation. It is estimated that the preliminary design of CAP1400 will be completed at the end of this year. The preparation work for the plant site has all been ready and the technical and engineering conditions for the preliminary work have been satisfied. Due to the effect of the Fukushima nuclear accident, all of our approval work for nuclear power projects has been suspended. The demonstration nuclear power plant is an engineering support for the major special project, is a technological demonstration reactor and standard reactor, and has a strategic supporting significance for realizing self-innovation and building a strong nuclear power nation. Compared with CAP1000, CAP1400 has a better safety and economy performance. The safety system of CAP1400 will be further improved after learning the relevant lessons from the Fukushima nuclear accident. At present, the six kinds of test work for design verification of the whole power plant are progressing in high gear and will be completed in 2012 and 2013 respectively. CAP1400 has a higher requirement for the manufacturing of key equipment whose research and development work is expanding at a full scale. The successful construction of CAP1400 will raise the overall capacity and level of our nuclear power industry into the world first-class group. On October 15, the National Energy Administration organized an Expert Panel Discussion on the preliminary work for CAP1400, which gave a fully positive appraisal and active support. In view of the special and strategic characteristics of CAP1400, we are calling for a special treatment for the CAP1400 demonstration project which shall not be treated as a common commercial nuclear power plant and affected by the Fukushima nuclear accident and the approval suspension. We should speed up its advancement and ensure that the work can meet the project schedule set by the National “Twelfth Five-Year” Science and Technology Development Plan and the implementation plan of major special project for pressurized water reactor.

In general, the Fukushima nuclear accident has made a profound educational and revealing significance for our nuclear industry. On the one hand, we should be prepared for danger in times of safety, realize the extremely important significance of nuclear power safety more deeply, strive to improve the safety standard and design level of nuclear power, and take concrete actions to gradually dispel the mistrustfulness of the society and the public. On the other hand, we should seize the opportunities, take advantage of the industry-wide strength, do all we can to catch up, steadfastly implement the set guidelines, and make concerted efforts to promote the digestion and absorption of Generation III nuclear power technology AP1000, to develop our own nuclear power technology with independent intellectual property right, and to realize a transformation from a big nuclear power nation to a strong nuclear power nation.

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