Construction start of China’s first CAP1400 reactor Shidaowan-1

Construction began 28 March 2014 on China’s first CAP1400 reactor at the Shidaowan site in Shandong Province with the completion of the concrete basemat. The Shidaowan unit 1 reactor is a scaled up version of the Westinghouse AP1000 Pressurized Water Reactor. It is the first domestic hybrid reactor as a result of co-operation between Westinghouse, the State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC) and Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research & Design Institute (SNERDI). A second CAP 1400 is also planned for the site, with construction to start within six months. It will be operated by the Huaneng Group, China’s largest power producer. About 80% of components for the first two CAP1400s will be made in China.

Construction of Shidaowan-1 was originally scheduled to begin in 2013 with operation from 2017 but was delayed by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident and the subsequent nuclear safety review conducted by Chinese authorities. Shidaowan-1 is scheduled to begin operation in late 2018.

When Westinghouse negotiated the sale for four AP1000 reactors China acquired domestic rights to much of the core AP1000 technology (but not the instrument and control technology) and the right to sell overseas its own version of the AP1000 with capacities over 1350 MW. In January 2011, the Westinghouse Electric Company, a unit of the Toshiba Corporation, signed a two-year extension of a cooperation agreement with China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation on continued deployment of the AP1000 reactor, which will include work on the CAP1400. The agreement covers service and maintenance, technology development and strategic investment.

The development of the CAP1400 is considered a critical next stage in China becoming self sufficient in developing nuclear power domestically and a potential leading nuclear export nation. Westinghouse is also expected to play a role in seeking to market the CAP1400 internationally.

The Chinese National Nuclear Safety Administration regulatory review of the CAP1400 began in March 2013. According to some nuclear industry experts, it “will not be design certified by the US NRC”.