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Inner containment in place at Tianwan 8

17 April 2024

The dome of the inner containment structure has been hoisted into place on top of the inner containment walls at unit 8 of the Tianwan nuclear power plant in China’s Jiangsu province.

The dome of the inner containment (Image: Rosatom)

The Russian-supplied VVER-1200 unit uses a double containment to maximise safety, with reinforced concrete protecting the plant from external hazards including natural disasters such as an earthquake, tsunami or hurricane. The lower tier of the internal containment steel dome at Tianwan 8 was hoisted into place on 13 March.

The upper part of the inner containment dome – weighing 210 tonnes – was installed in the design position in the reactor building on 15 April, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) announced.

The total weight of the dome is over 600 tonnes, CNC said, noting that it is “the heaviest thin-shell steel-lined dome in China”.

The dome is hoisted into place (Image: CNNC)

Construction workers will now weld the metal structures of the lower and the upper tiers of the inner containment together. After the completion of installation works of the dome, they will continue concreting of the containment.

In June 2018, Russia and China signed four agreements, including for the construction of two VVER-1200 reactors as units 7 and 8 of the Tianwan plant. In addition, two further VVER-1200 units were to be constructed at the new Xudabao (also known as Xudapu) site in Liaoning province.

Work on Tianwan 7 and 8 and Xudabao 3 and 4 was launched on 19 May 2021 at a ceremony attended via video-link by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The ceremony included the pouring of first concrete for Tianwan 7.

Construction of Tianwan 8 officially got under way on 25 February 2022 with the pouring of first concrete for the reactor’s nuclear island.

“Tianwan NPP unit 8 is being constructed strictly in accordance with the schedule,” said Alexey Bannik, vice president for projects in China and advanced projects of Atomstroyexport, part of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom. “The Russian and the Chinese specialists are jointly implementing this project – the Russian party being responsible for design and supply of documentation and equipment for the nuclear island, or designing supervision, installation and adjustment supervision during the construction of units 7 and 8, and the Chinese customer for civil and erection, commissioning and other works during the units’ construction.”

The two units are expected to be put into operation in 2026 and 2027, respectively.

The Tianwan nuclear power plant is owned and operated by Jiangsu Nuclear Power Company, a joint venture between CNNC (50%), China Power Investment Corporation (30%) and Jiangsu Guoxin Group (20%).

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