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Unit 2 of the Shin Hanul nuclear power plant in South Korea has attained a sustained chain reaction for the first time, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) announced. The unit is the second of two APR-1400 reactors at the site, with a further two planned.

Shin Hanul units 1 and 2 (Image: KHNP)

The 1350 MWe pressurised water reactor reached first criticality at 7.00am on the 6 December, KHNP said.

Shin Hanul 2 received an operating licence from the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission on 7 September, after which it completed a preliminary inspection by the regulator. The loading of 241 fuel assemblies into the reactor's core was carried out between 11 and 18 September. High-temperature functional tests were subsequently conducted.

With first criticality now achieved, Shin Hanul 2 will undergo performance tests of the power plant system. The reactor is scheduled to start generating electricity on 20 December, contributing to the winter power peak, KHNP said. After major tests at each output stage, it is scheduled to begin full-scale commercial operation in the first half of 2024.

Ground breaking for the first two units at the Shin Hanul (formerly Shin Ulchin) site took place in May 2012. First concrete for unit 1 was poured two months later, with that for unit 2 following in June 2013. Shin Hanul 1 achieved first criticality on 22 May 2022 and was connected to the grid on 9 June last year.

"Shin Hanul unit 1, the same reactor design as Shin Hanul unit 2, began commercial operation in December of last year and has been operating without failure for 365 days to-date," KHNP noted.

Once in operation, Shin Hanul 2 will be South Korea's 28th nuclear power reactor and its 4th operational APR1400 - after Saeul units 1 and 2 (formerly Shin Kori 3 and 4) and Shin Hanul unit 1. Two further APR1400s are under construction as Saeul units 3 and 4, with two more units planned as Shin Hanul units 3 and 4.

Four APR1400 units have been built at the Barakah nuclear power plant in the UAE, three of which are now in operation, with the fourth currently in its commissioning phase.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Thursday, 07 December 2023
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Second-APR-1400-at-Shin-Hanul-starts-up