Taishan Nuclear Power plant in China

It was stated in the New York time on 16 June 2021 that the engineers in China are building a radically different type of reactor that some experts say offers a safer nuclear alternative.    The technology will be used in two reactors here on a peninsula jutting into the Yellow Sea, where the Chinese government is expected to let construction proceed even as the world debates the wisdom of nuclear power.    But the western environmentalists are divided on the safety of pebble-bed nuclear technology.

Taishan Nuclear Power Plant.


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China Taishan Nuclear Power Plant

Rather than using conventional fuel rod assemblies of the sort leaking radiation in Japan, each packed with nearly 400 pounds of uranium, the Chinese reactors will use hundreds of thousands of billiard-ball-size fuel elements, each cloaked in its own protective layer of graphite.   The coating moderates the pace of nuclear reactions and is meant to ensure that if the plant had to be shut down in an emergency, the reaction would slowly stop on its own and not lead to a meltdown.

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China is building a repository for high-level nuclear waste, like conventional fuel rods, in the country’s arid west. But the far less radioactive spheres, or pebbles, like those from the Shidao reactors will not require such specialized storage; China plans to store the used pebbles initially at the power plants, and later at lower-level radioactive waste disposal sites near the reactors.

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Was mentioned that Germany led the initial research into pebble-bed nuclear reactors and built its own research version in the 1960’s. That reactor closed after an accident, caused by a jammed fuel pebble that released traces of radiation — coincidentally nine days after the Chernobyl accident in 1986, at a time of greatly increased worry about nuclear safety. Dr. Xu said that China, learning from the German mishap, had designed its reactors to keep the pebbles from jamming.

South Africa tried hard until last summer to build a pebble-bed reactor but ran into serious cost overruns.

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Only five of the 60,000 fuel rods at a nuclear plant in southern China have been damaged, the country’s safety regulator said on 16 June 2021, insisting there was no danger to the public or environment.

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3137558/chinese-nuclear-regulator-insists-there-no-cause-alarm-taishan

David Fishman, manager at energy-focused consulting group The Lantau Group, said fuel failures, or cracks in fuel rods, were common throughout the industry.  The noble gases were created when uranium fissions inside of the fuel cladding. Normally it would stay as a gas inside the fuel cladding, but if you have a crack in the fuel cladding, it leaks out and gets into the cooling loop.

“In terms of nuclear safety, we have the highest standard,” said Wang Yingsu, secretary general of the nuclear power branch of the China Electric Power Promotion Council.

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/3137410/no-abnormal-radiation-china-says-taishan-nuclear-power-station

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China has blamed damaged fuel rods for rising levels of radiation in its first confirmation of the incident that prompted concern over the facility’s safety.

China said on 16 June 2021 that  a buildup of radioactive gases in a power plant near Hong Kong was due to five damaged fuel rods in a reactor. Authorities added that no radioactivity was leaked.   Earlier reports of a possible leak at the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant reactor in the southern province of Guangdong had prompted concern in Hong Kong.   Operators were investigating a potential issue linked to the buildup of inert gases at the Taishan facility earlier this week.

What did China say?

Radiation rose inside the Taishan plant but was contained by barriers that functioned as planned, China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment said.

“Due to the influence of uncontrollable factors in fuel manufacturing, transportation, loading and other links, a small amount of fuel rod damage is inevitable,” a ministry statement read, describing it as a “common phenomenon.”

According to the statement, the core unit has more than 60,000 fuel rods, making the proportion of damaged rods “less than 0.01%.”

The ministry stressed that the increase in radioactivity was “within the permitted range of stable operation” for nuclear power plants, and “there is no issue of radioactive leakage to the environment.”

What did China say?

Radiation rose inside the Taishan plant but was contained by barriers that functioned as planned, China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment said.

“Due to the influence of uncontrollable factors in fuel manufacturing, transportation, loading and other links, a small amount of fuel rod damage is inevitable,” a ministry statement read, describing it as a “common phenomenon.”

According to the statement, the core unit has more than 60,000 fuel rods, making the proportion of damaged rods “less than 0.01%.”

The ministry stressed that the increase in radioactivity was “within the permitted range of stable operation” for nuclear power plants, and “there is no issue of radioactive leakage to the environment.”

https://www.dw.com/en/china-denies-radiation-leak-at-taishan-nuclear-power-plant/a-57916942

US assessing reported leak at Chinese nuclear power plant - report - The  Jerusalem Post

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During a press conference, it was stated that the China’s nuclear power plants have maintained a good operating record, and there have been no incidents affecting the environment and public health. The radiation environment around the Taishan nuclear power plant has not been abnormal and safe. Guaranteed.

Stated in the media on 16 June 2021 that the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant, about 130 kilometers away from Hong Kong, was accused of a nuclear radiation leakage accident. One of the shareholders of the nuclear power plant, EDF confirmed that the concentration of rare gases at the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant has increased, releasing the rare gases xenon and krypton.  The incident was a radioactive leak, the French Telegraph has not explained in detail.  The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized that the radiation environment around the nuclear power plant has not been abnormal and that “safety is guaranteed.” As for the Hong Kong Security Bureau’s press release tonight (15th), the National Nuclear Safety Administration has determined that the Taishan Nuclear Power Station is currently in a safe state and there is no radioactive leakage to the environment.

Électricité de France (EDF), which owns a 30% stake in Taishan Nuclear Power Plant, confirmed that the concentration of rare gases in Taishan Nuclear Power Plant has increased, releasing two rare gases, Xenon and Krypton.

The spokesperson of France Telecom was quoted as pointing out that it is suspected that there is a problem with the fuel rods and the seal. France Electric pointed out that it has contacted the team of the Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company and is providing professional knowledge. The company also requested a special board meeting with China General Nuclear Power Group, which operates nuclear power plants, and the management provides all the data and necessary decisions, but it did not mention whether the Chinese side agreed to convene a meeting.

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