The two-part tests to confirm that the containment vessel meets design and construction quality requirements began on 30 November. The first part - the structural integrity test - involved the vessel being pressurized and monitored to confirm that its design and construction meet all applicable industry codes and standards at 110% of design pressure. This test was completed on 6 December.
The vessel was then pressurized to design pressure and the integrated leak rate test was performed to demonstrate its ability to prevent the release of radioactive materials in the event of an emergency. This was completed on 9 December. Westinghouse said final data reports on the testing are in process and will be issued by the end of the year.
Westinghouse noted that the Haiyang 1 containment tests were completed two days ahead of schedule. The testing team, it said, used the experience gained from the containment tests completed last month at unit 1 of the Sanmen plant, also an AP1000. By doing so they were able to "pre-emptively troubleshoot potential testing challenges and increase efficiency, leading to shorter test duration".
Westinghouse senior vice president for new plants and major projects Jeff Benjamin said, "The containment vessel pressure testing is another significant milestone in the delivery of one of the world's first AP1000 nuclear power plants and confirms the integrity of the containment vessel structure." He added, "Westinghouse and our delivery partners remain on a clear path to project completion."
Westinghouse is currently constructing four AP1000 units in China, two each at Sanmen in Zhejiang province and Haiyang in Shandong. Sanmen unit 1 is expected to be the first AP1000 to begin operating, in September 2016. Haiyang 1 is expected to start up by the end of 2016. All four Chinese AP1000s are scheduled to be in operation by the end of 2017.
Four AP1000 reactors are being built in the USA - two each at Vogtle and Summer - while three AP1000s are also proposed for the Moorside site in the UK.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News