The Xudabao nuclear power plant (NPP), also known as the Xudapu NPP, is a 2.4GW nuclear power generating facility under construction in the Liaoning province of China.

The China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) is the owner of the project, while Liaoning Nuclear Power Company, a subsidiary of CNNC, will operate the facility.

While construction of units 1 and 2 of the Xudabao NPP is yet to be started, a ground-breaking ceremony for units 3 and 4 was held in May 2021. The total investment in Xudabao-3 and Xudabao-4 is estimated to be £5.69bn ($8.06bn).

Xudabao-3 and Xudabao-4 are two of four VVER-1200 reactors being built by Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) in China under a package of strategic nuclear partnership agreements signed between the two countries in June 2018. The remaining two VVER-1200 reactors are being built as units 7 and 8 at the Tianwan NPP in the Jiangsu province of China.

The main construction works on Xudabao-3 were started with the pouring of the first concrete in July 2021, while construction of Xudabao-4 is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Scheduled to commence operations in 2027 and 2028, respectively, the combined electricity generating capacity of both the units is expected to be 18 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) a year.

Xudabao nuclear power project background

The Xudabao NPP was originally planned to be installed with six Chinese-designed CAP1000 reactors for a total generating capacity of 6GW. Site preparation for the same started in November 2010, followed by the approval from China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in January 2011.

Location and site details

The Xudabao nuclear power project is located at the Xudabao village, Haibin County, Xingcheng, Huludao, on the coast of Liaoning province, in north-east China.

Xudabao-3 and Xudabao-4 VVER-1200 reactor details

Each nuclear island of Xudabao-3 and Xudabao-4 will be equipped with a V-491 version rector of the third-generation VVER-1200 (AES-2006) Russian pressurised water reactor (PWR) design. Other associated components of the plant will include steam turbine generator sets, reactor cooler pump sets, main circulation piping systems and pressurisers.

Each VVER-1200 reactor unit at the Xudabao NPP will have a gross electrical capacity of 1,274MW and thermal capacity of 3,200MW.

VVER-1200 reactor represents design improvements over the VVER-1000 reactors. It offers more than 20% higher power output and is designed for 60 years of operational life, compared to the 35-year life of VVER-1000.

The reactor also comes with additional safety elements including a passive heat removal system, double-protective containment, and the provision of boron injection to the reactor coolant to ensure fast safe shutdown of the reactor when needed.

The Xudabao NPP will incorporate passive fire protection system (PFPS), as well as industrial anti-seismic protection system (IAPS) to shut down the reactors automatically during any event of earthquake.

Contractors involved in the Xudabao nuclear power plant

Rosatom was awarded a general contract by CNNC to design nuclear islands of Xudabao-3 and Xudabao-4, and supply key equipment and machinery for both the units in June 2019. The contractual scope also includes design supervision, installation, and commissioning services.

The general contract followed an engineering and design contract signed by both the parties in March 2019.

AtomEnergoMash (AEM), a subsidiary of Rosatom, started manufacturing a VVER-1200 reactor and steam generators for the Xudabao NPP in February 2021.

TVEL, another subsidiary of Rosatom, was contracted to supply nuclear fuel for the Xudabao reactors in November 2019.

Tyazhmash, an industrial machinery manufacturer based in Russia, was contracted to supply core catchers for the reactors in August 2019.

CNNP Liaoning Nuclear Power Company (CNLNPC) is responsible to install the nuclear islands of both the units, while Powerchina Nuclear Engineering Company is responsible for the balance of plant (BOP) construction works.

Shanghai Electric was contracted by China Nuclear Power Engineering (CNPEC) to supply steam turbines of the Xudabao NPP in August 2020.

Nexans was contracted by China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation (CNEIC) to supply nuclear-rated medium-voltage (MV) and low-voltage (LV) power cables, as well as instrumentation and coaxial telecommunication cables for the Xudabao NPP in September 2021.

Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction (DHIC) received a contract from China Techenergy (CTEC) to supply IAPS instrumentation and control (I&C) system for units 3 and 4 of the Xudabao NPP in March 2021.

HBIS Group, a Chinese iron and steel manufacturing conglomerate, is supplying high-strength structural steel for the Xudabao nuclear power project.