China's AP1000 reactor using third-generation nuclear technology starts final performance testing in Zhejiang province.[Photo: Baidu]
A nuclear power reactor using third-generation nuclear technology developed by Westinghouse has begun final performance testing in Zhejiang province.
The AP1000 pressurized water reactor at the Sanmen Nuclear Power Plant is expected to start generating electricity in the first half of next year.
It is being built by State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation.
The AP1000 reactor is equipped with a multiple-level defense system for accident mitigation and is designed to achieve safe shutdown conditions without operator action.
Hu Guofeng, the deputy general manager of the Shanghai-based Corporation, says a 3,000-ton water tank has been installed on top of the reactor in order to cool the reactor in the event of an emergency.
"In the case of a blackout, the water in the tank will be able to get into the reactor with the natural force of gravity and natural circulation through our containment cooling system and automatic decompression system. A stack effect will be formed as gravity allows water to flow and circulates cold air outside the containment, which will release the heat from the reactor containment continuously for 72 hours."
China is embarking on a massive program of nuclear power plant construction with approvals already given for up to eight new reactors annually.
The country is also developing its own nuclear technology, the Hualong One rector, a rival third-generation design developed by China National Nuclear Corp and China General Nuclear Power Group, two major nuclear players.