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Reactor vessel installed at new Korean unit

04 Aug 2011

The reactor pressure vessel for unit 4 of South Korea's Shin-Kori nuclear power plant has been put in place. The unit is the second APR-1400 to be built and its schedule follows the first, Shin-Kori 3, by one year.

The installation of the vessel, which represents the heart of the nuclear power plant, was marked by a ceremony on 18 July. The component measures 14.8 metres high with an internal diameter of 4.7 metres and weighs some 533 tonnes. It was designed by Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) and supplied by Doosan Heavy Industries. Kepco noted the installation as a major milestone in the project, which now leaves the structural construction phase and enters the mechanical and electrical installation phase.

First concrete for Shin-Kori 4 was poured in August 2009 and the APR-1400 unit is scheduled to begin commercial operation in September 2014. Its schedule is running about one year behind that of Shin-Kori 3, the first APR-1400 to be built. Two more of the 1350 MWe pressurized water reactors are planned for construction at Shin-Ulchin and scheduled to start up in 2016 and 2017. Four have been ordered by Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation for the Braka plant in the United Arab Emirates to start between 2017 and 2020.

KHNP, the owner of all 21 of South Korea's operating nuclear power reactors, has held a licensee relationship with Westinghouse since the late 1980s when the US-based company supplied the 945 MWe System 80 nuclear steam supply for Yonggwang 3 and 4. After that, KHNP was able to develop variants of System 80 for its own requirements under technology transfer terms in the licence agreement.

After introducing domestic innovations and updating technology over time, KHNP came up with the Korean Standard Nuclear Plant (KNSP), then the OPR-1000. The APR-1400 technology represents a further evolution of that design. The construction and power generation costs of the APR-1400 are reported to be 10% lower than those of OPR-1000 units.