Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power has started up its new Shin Kori 4 reactor and plans to connect it to the electricity grid at the end of this month. It is the second APR-1400 design unit to start up of a planned global fleet of at least 10.
KHNP said the unit had achieved criticality and that it would gradually increase its power level during the commissioning process. By the end of this month it hopes to connect the reactor to the grid, after which the power level can begin to approach its full 1340 MWe output. After a successful full-power run, the unit will be ready to begin commercial operation. KHNP expects this at the end of August.
Construction of two further APR1400 pressurised water reactors at Shin Kori – units 5 and 6 – began in April 2017 and September 2018 respectively. Unit 5 is scheduled to begin commercial operation in March 2022, with unit 6 following one year later. Two further APR-1400 units are under construction in South Korea as units 1 and 2 of the Shin Hanul site. A further four APR-1400s are under construction at Barakah in the United Arab Emirates, while KHNP and Kepco are hopeful of further orders in other countries.
The APR-1400 is a pressurised water reactor designed by Korea Electric Power Company (Kepco) that KHNP said features improvements in operation, safety, maintenance and affordability based on accumulated experience as well as technological development. It supercedes the standardised 995 MWe OPR-1400 design, of which South Korea built 12.
The brief announcement of the criticality on KHNP’s website is dated 11 April, but has only just been uploaded there. Kepco has not yet released a statement. Both companies are owned by the government of President Moon Jae-in, who wishes to close down the nuclear sector and find other sources for the one-third of national electricity it currently provides.