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World’s first EPR enters into commercial operation at China’s Taishan nuclear power plant

Unit 1 of the Taishan nuclear power plant has become the world’s first EPR—a third-generation pressurized water reactor—to enter into commercial operation. Comprising two 1750-MW EPR reactors, Taishan nuclear power plant is the biggest cooperation project to have taken place between China and France (China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) and EDF) in the energy sector.

Taishan’s two reactors are capable of supplying the Chinese power grid with up to 24 TWh of CO2-free electricity a year, tantamount to the annual electricity consumption of 5 million Chinese users, while at the same time preventing the emission of 21 million tons of CO2 a year.

The EPR reactor has four safety systems which operate alongside each other, each one 100% capable of ensuring the two essential safety functions required to protect people and the environment in any circumstances: shutting down the nuclear reactor and cooling the reactor core.

Equipment, known as the core catcher, has been specially designed to recover, contain and cool the reactor core in the event of an accident. Additionally, a concrete shell is constructed over the most sensitive parts of the installation to protect against the risk of external attack.

The Taishan project is being led by TNPJVC, a joint venture founded by CGN (51%), EDF (30%) and a regional Chinese utility called Yuedian (19%). The EDF Group and its Framatome subsidiary supplied the third-generation EPR technology, which meets the highest international safety standards. EDF also contributed operating experience from the construction of its Flamanville-3 EPR.

Taishan 1 has benefited from 35 years of strategic cooperation between EDF and CGN, which started with the construction of China’s first commercial nuclear power plant at Daya Bay. Both companies also took advantage of the complementary relationship between the French and Chinese nuclear industries, thereby increasing their knowledge base and offering new business opportunities.

Taishan 1 is providing EPR reactors around the world with its experience in project management and technological expertise. The first reactors to benefit from this experience are the two Hinkley Point C units currently being built in the UK. The two companies are also partners in the Sizewell C EPR project, as well as in the Bradwell B project which is based on Hualong technology.



China may have established a record with only 126 months of effective construction time (instead of the planned 46 months) to build their first EPR 1750/1660 NPP at Taishan-China. The number two EPR, at the same site, should be in operation by mid 2019. The original estimated cost for both units was $7.5B but, as for building time, is was probably underestimated and the final cost may be around $15+B . Some 280 similar double units could supply a major part of the e-energy needed for China and greatly reduce pollution and GHGs from the local CPPs?

Similar units, in construction in France and Finland, are also having major delays and cost overruns. Will the planned UK units be constructed at a faster pace and lessor cost?

Simplified EPRs are being designed for after 2020 constructions. The Chinese Hualong-1 may become a good competitor?

Nick Lyons

The EPR is the most baroque expression of the redundant engineered safety used by large PWR designs. The future of nuclear is smaller, simpler, passively safe, factory-built. See NuScale (SMR/PWR) and Terrestrial Energy (SMR/MSR).

PWR = Pressurized Water Reactor
MSR = Molten Salt Reactor
SMR = Small Modular Reactor


The nuclear industry did not help the cause with the latest/complex EPR. EPRs are having major delays and cost overruns everywhere it was tried.

A drastic change is required. Are factory built, modular, transportable , mass produced units (SMR) the right answer for the nuclear industry future?

Is a very different approach/design possible for the short and mid terms?


Bloomberg claims/states that energy produced by SMRs will cost 50% to 100% more than from current new large NPPs. If so, SMRs may not be the ideal solution to high cost nuclear. A new design/approach may be required?

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