Macau | Authorities confirm that first tests are being conducted at Taishan nuclear power plant

The company responsible for the Taishan nuclear power plant has confirmed to the Macau Unitary Police Service that tests are currently being conducted on one of the reactors of the plant, which, according to a report by Hong Kong media, China’s National Nuclear Safety Administration is said to have experienced six major issues with just a week before the test

Macau (MNA) – The Unitary Police Service (SPU) has confirmed with Chinese authorities that tests are currently being undertaken on one of the Taishan nuclear power plant reactors.

A report by FactWire, a non-profit investigative news agency, revealed that the Taishan nuclear power plant in Guangdong had secretly started tests on its Unit 1 reactor earlier this month.

According to the report the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) indicated that the reactor initiated a nuclear reaction on June 6, although China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) – the state-owned group that operates the Taishan nuclear power plant – had not officially announced the start-up on its website.

The reactor started operations after China’s National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) indicated a week earlier that it had found six major issues with Taishan’s Unit 1 following a safety inspection in late May, problems that would have to be rectified.

This report led the SPU to enquire from the Office of the Nuclear Emergency Management Committee of Guangdong Province about the tests, which then forwarded a response by CGN confirming the tests.

‘The Taishan Nuclear Power Plant strictly complies with standards and inspection requirements during construction work. In compliance with the requirements and measures proposed by the supervisory body, after authorisation has been granted, Unit 1 of the plant has completed the first critical control activities and is currently performing tests. Results indicate that requirements are being met and tests will continue as per the plan,’ reads the response received by the SPU from the Chinese company.

The Taishan nuclear power plant was developed by CGN in co-operation with French electric utility company EDF, with the start of the nuclear power plant Unit 1 reactor operation having been previously delayed from late 2017 to 2018 and the Unit 2 to start operations some time between the first half of 2018 and 2019.

A previous report by FactWire last year had indicated that cracks had been found in important components of the Unit 1 reactor, with CGN then stating that ‘partial defects’ were found in the wielding of the reactors’ three parts, but that the component – which helps cool down the reactor – is not part of the nuclear safety system.

This year, Macau authorities announced that SPU signed an agreement with Guangdong Province for co-operation in the emergency management of nuclear power station accidents.