China tops out home-grown reactor planned for UK

China has successfully installed the containment dome for its first home-grown nuclear power project using Hualong One technology, in east China’s Fujian Province.

The same reactor design has been submitted for review for a new nuclear power plant in the UK, at Bradwell in Essex.

The giant dome, weighing 340 tonnes and measuring 46.8m in diameter, was lowered by crane on the No. 5 unit of Fuqing Nuclear Power Plant, run by China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) in Fuqing City on 25 May.

The feat marked the end of construction work on the pilot project and the start of the assembly stage, state news agency Xinhua reported.

The dome is necessary to protect people against nuclear accidents, and both its design and installation are very demanding processes, Xinhua said.

Workers gather for the dome installation at No. 5 unit of Fuqing Nuclear Power Plant in Fuqing, in southeast China’s Fujian Province, on 25 May 2017 (Xinhua/Jiang Kehong)

"The installation is much more difficult than that of traditional nuclear reactors because the whole weight of the dome and the ropes is more than 500 tonnes," Yang Jianguo, site lifting commander, told Xinhua.

Construction of the pilot project began in May 2015 and was scheduled to take about 62 months.

The country has promoted Hualong One at home and abroad. The reactor is a third-generation design, originally based on French technology. It has an output of 1,150MW and a design life of 60 years.

There are now four projects under construction using Hualong One design, including two reactors in Karachi, Pakistan.

Top image: The dome is lowered onto the containment unit at Fuqing Nuclear Power Plant (Xinhua/Jiang Kehong)

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