The news: The 1,100MW K2 nuclear reactor at the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP) has successfully concluded its thermal testing and will be ready for commercial operations next year. The thermal tests, also known as hot functional tests (HFTs), have been conducted using China’s domestically produced ‘Hualong One’ technology.
Foreign technology: Karachi Nuclear Power Plant in Pakistan is the first to use the Hualong One technology outside its native country. China is currently in the process of building two Hualong One reactors with a capacity of 1,100MW each at the Karachi Nuclear Power Complex. A single 137MW reactor has been operating in this complex near the Karachi coast since 1972. The construction of two new reactor units, Kanupp-2 and Kanupp-3, began in August 2015 and May 2016 respectively. The reactors have been respectively scheduled to launch commercial operations in 2021 and 2022. These units will account for the country’s total energy generation up to 10%.
Nuclear island: In April 2020, the last concrete layer for the outer containment dome of the K2 reactor’s nuclear island was constructed with a height of 73.98m. The nuclear island, which refers to the main structure of a nuclear reactor, has a two-layered containment. The outer layer is built in the form of a tube-like structure and a dome structure. The dome-shaped containment layer helps in the installation, debugging, and operational processes of the reactor. By August 31, the construction of the nuclear island of the K3 unit at KANUPP had also been completed and the outer containment dome was successfully installed.
Thermal testing: China National Nuclear Corporation announced that the thermal testing of Hualong One has been successful at KANUPP and said that the HFTs play a vital role in the establishment of any nuclear power project, because they simulate the conditions that the nuclear power plant will have to operate under. This ensures the reliability of the systems and tests the main equipment before the nuclear reactor is loaded with nuclear fuel. This kind of thermal testing also allows extensive trials of the quality of the reactor coolant system, pipeline sealing, and welding, as well as the design, manufacture, and installation of various systems in the reactor. The corporation said that the successful testing of the reactor means that nuclear fuel can now be loaded into the reactor and it can also be connected to the power grid for further testing.
Hualong One: According to China National Nuclear Corporation, the Hualong One technology, also known as HPR1000, is a third-generation nuclear power design. The innovative technology symbolizes a great milestone for China in the nuclear power sector. Currently, the construction of six nuclear reactor units using the Hualong One technology is ongoing in China and other countries as well.