China's Taishan nuclear reactor reconnected to power grid

China's Taishan nuclear reactor reconnected to power grid

BEIJING: A nuclear reactor in southern China was reconnected to the electricity grid more than a year after it was shut down to repair damage, its operator said.

Part of a Taishan nuclear power plant in Guangdong province was shut down last July after Chinese authorities reported minor fuel rod damage and a build-up of radioactive gases at the plant.

After months of inspection and maintenance, operators connected the damaged reactor, China General Nuclear Power Group CGN said in a stock exchange filing late on Tuesday.

The CGN said in the filing that the results of the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant and its surrounding environment are normal.

The plant is operated in a partnership with French nuclear firm Framatome and uses the European Pressurised Reactor EPR design, which was developed to relaunch nuclear power in Europe after the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.

The design is touted as offering higher power and better safety, but EPR projects in Finland, France and the UK have been plagued by delays and cost overruns.

There are more than 60,000 fuel rods in the reactor and the proportion of damaged rods was less than 0.01 per cent China's environment ministry and nuclear regulators said before the reactor's closure.

They said the damage was inevitable due to factors including fuel manufacturing and transportation.

The EDF, the majority owner of Framatome, previously blamed the build-up of radioactive gases at the Taishan plant for deteriorating coating on some uranium fuel rods.

The reactor resumed production on Monday, according to the EDF.

After an in-depth investigation, the Chinese safety authority gave its consent for the restart of EPR reactor 1 in Taishan, EDF spokeswoman said.

The official environmental monitoring data showed a slight increase in radiation near Taishan compared to other nuclear plants in China last year, but within the normal range of environmental radiation levels in Guangdong.