China's 200 MW Fourth-Generation Nuclear Reactor Begins Delivering Power to Regional Grid

Dec. 26, 2023
The HTGR technology was selected for its inherent safety and versatility, and it is believed to hold immense potential for commercial applications as an alternative power solution

The Shidaowan 200 MW High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor Pebble-Bed Module (HTR-PM) demonstration project in China's northern Shandong province has begun delivering power to the regional grid following the successful completion of a 168 test hour run that confirmed all systems meet the design functions. 

The project utilizes a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR), which is recognized as the fourth-generation nuclear technology, that generates power through the conversion of nuclear, heat, mechanical, and electricity power. 

The HTGR technology was selected for its inherent safety and versatility, and it is believed to hold immense potential for commercial applications as an alternative power solution to fossil fuel-based energy sources. 

The reactor is able to remain safe even in the event of a full cooling system failure, thereby preventing core meltdown and radioactive material leakage, all without requiring any intervention. 

This milestone project, jointly developed by state-run utility Huaneng, Tsinghau University, and China National Nuclear Corporation, is helping to advance China's nuclear energy innovation goals to continue exploring safe, reliable, and sustainable power sources to facilitate its carbon peak and neutrality target. 

The project is also helping advance China's goal of producing 10% of its electricity from nuclear sources by 2035 and 18% by 2060.

As one of the key project participants, Shanghai Electric provided a variety of equipment, including reactor pressure vessels, metallic core internals, control rod drive mechanisms, shutdown systems, turbines, primary helium fans, and helium compressors. 

In total, 93.4% of the equipment used in the reactor was manufactured by Chinese companies. 

The reactor pressure vessels boast larger sizes and more complex structures compared to traditional market offerings. According to Shanghai Electric, the metallic core internals manufactured specifically for the project are the world's largest thin-walled metallic core internals. 

Initiated in 2006 and beginning construction in 2012, the completion of the plant marks the conclusion of a decade-long endeavor to develop self-innovated solutions for nuclear power technology.