(Yicai Global) Jan. 10 -- French President Emmanuel Macron started his first state visit to China on Jan. 8. He and Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday jointly introduced the world's first EPR (European pressurized reactor) project for Unit 1 of the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in China's southeastern Guangdong province, Yicai Global has learned from China General Nuclear Power Corp. (CGN).
The Unit 1 of the plant started construction in 2009 and Unit 2 which followed the next year are the world's third and fourth EPR third-generation PWR (pressurized water reactor) nuclear power generation units under construction.
Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Co., a joint venture co-invested by CGN, Electricite de France (EDF) and Guangdong Yudean Group Co. are responsible for the construction and operation of the project, which is the largest cooperative undertaking between China and France in the energy field.
The construction of the nuclear power project has been steadily advancing, with sound controls of safety, quality and progress in place since its start, CGN said. Unit 1 began cold tests on Dec. 30, 2015, becoming the world's first EPR third-generation nuclear power unit to undergo such testing, making it preeminent among similar units abroad, to whom it will continue to export its successful practices and experiences. The unit has now also completed its thermal function tests, while Unit 2 is amid its equipment installation phase.
Cooperation between China and France in the field of nuclear power has a long history. China introduced French technology to start construction of the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station -- also in Guangdong province -- in 1987. This, the first large-scale commercial megawatt nuclear power station in China, laid the foundation for cooperation between the two countries. The first phase of the Taishan project using France's third-generation EPR nuclear power technology has started construction, thus opening a new chapter in Chinese-French nuclear energy cooperation. CGN and EDF signed agreements with the UK on Oct. 21, 2015 to jointly invest in the construction of three new major nuclear power projects there.
CGN and EDF are also working closely on the UK's General Design Assessment for the Hualong One technology the two contemplate applying in a UK reactor. EPR reactors are encased in water that renders them safer and more leak-proof than others, since the pressurized water cannot boil as it cools the core.