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Nuclear milestone reached at Karachi power plant

The outer safety dome of unit 2 at the Karachi nuclear power plant in Pakistan was successfully installed on the containment building.

According to the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), this milestone, achieved on 17 June, marks the end of the general construction work on Karachi Unit 2, and will be followed up by containment and heat tests.

The unit is the first of two Chinese-supplied Hualong One reactors being built at the site.

The steel dome measures approximately 53 metres in diameter and over 23 metres in height, and weighs about 366 tonnes. 

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The nuclear power plant design

Hualong One uses a double-layer safety shell design. Together with the inner protective dome, the outer dome protects the reactor and prevents the release of radioactive materials into the environment in the event of a serious accident.

“The successful hoisting of the outer safety dome has marked the end of the main structural project of the nuclear power plant, which has created favourable conditions for the overall test and thermal test of the subsequent containment,” China National Nuclear Corporation told WNN.

Karachi 2 and 3 are the first export of China’s Hualong One design, with construction of unit 2 beginning in 2015 and unit 3 in 2016. Installation of the reactor internals at unit 2 was completed in January this year. The units are scheduled for commercial operation in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

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Construction in the pipeline

CNNC has four HPR1000 units under construction around the world, which make up the world’s only third-generation pressurised water reactor nuclear power project constructed according to schedule.

The four plants are the two units at CNNC’s Fuqing plant in Fujian province, and two at Fangchenggang site in Guangxi province, which is being constructed by China General Nuclear (CGN).

All four units are expected to enter commercial operation in 2019-2020.

According to WNN, CGN also has a proposal out to use a UK version of its Hualong One design at a prospective new nuclear power plant at Bradwell, England.

Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl
As the Editor of ESI Africa, my passion is on sustainability and placing African countries on the international stage. I take a keen interest in the trends shaping the power & water utility market along with the projects and local innovations making headline news. Watch my short weekly video on our YouTube channel ESIAfricaTV and speak with me on what has your attention.