October 27, 2010

China's Nuclear Reactors and Bridges and budgets and schedules

Construction commenced for Qinshan 2 Nuclear Power Station (Phase 2) in 2006, for another twin 650 MW class PWR nuclear power station based on the same design as Qinshan 2 Nuclear Power Station. Phase 2 is planned for completion in 2010 and with 70% localization in contents.

Qinshan 2 phase 2 went into commercial operation this month. So it was done on time and budget.

China's nuclear reactors are getting built for about US$2 billion per gigawatt of reactor. Nuclear skeptics have a tough time believing that China, South Korea and Asia in general can build for far about half cost of Europe and the USA. They think either the low cost estimates will not be realized in actual construction completion or that safety and other factors are compromised. I will review the recent costs of actual completions. I will also compare the situation with bridges. The cost and schedule of the Bay bridge with China's bridges.

Interestingly the nuclear skeptics do not worry about the budgets and schedules for China's massive wind power build or the fact that those are also cheaper than US and Europe build. Chnia has a 170 GW wind power project pipeline.

It was a CNNC CNP 650. Qinshan 2 Nuclear Power Station is an indigenous development based on French technology. It is a twin 650 MW class PWR nuclear power station designated as CNP 650. It has many similarities to the Framatome M310 series though having only two primary coolant loops and not three. It is developed upon proven technology, based on national standards while conforming to international practices. Each unit has a gross output nominally at 670 MW, with a maximum at 690 MW, making it the largest two-primary loop PWR design.

A second 650MW reactor will be done 2012. The previous 2004 completed unit investment cost was RMB 14.4 billion. (about US$2 billion)

26 billion yuan for the two Qinshan 1000 MW class reactors (actually 1160 MWe). Those ones started 2008 and should be 2013 and 2014. The CNP 1000 PWR are being developed by CNNC. They are 1160 MW class 3-primary loop PWR.

Ling Ao reactor that started this year also built on time and budget.

China first AP1000 is back on schedule

The project to build the world's first AP1000, China's Sanmen 1, reached a construction milestone when the third steel ring of the plant's containment vessel was hoisted into place. Work on the Westinghouse reactor is now back on schedule, despite falling six months behind at the end of last year.

The 700 tonne containment vessel bottom head (CVBH) for Sanmen 1 was set in December 2009, some six months behind schedule, but by the end of May 2010, with the setting of the second containment vessel ring, this construction delay was recovered. By providing quick feedback, such delays could be eliminated on the following units. In the case of the CVBH, welding was carried out within a fully-enclosed building for the reactors planned for Haiyang, leading to much shorter fabrication times for the CVBH for Haiyang 1 compared with that for Sanmen 1. According to Candris, the quick schedule recovery and optimization of construction processes would not have been possible without using modular construction.

The next major milestone scheduled for Sanmen 1 is the installation of the reactor vessel and steam generators, which should take place in 2011

Paperwork and political delays do not make a safer infrastructure project

I have more faith in places that are building a lot of stuff to be schedule and budget because the crews are experienced and up the learning curve. Like when the US was building a lot of skyscrapers and built the Empire state building in 410 days. It is still standing and without safety problems. Now China is building thousands of skyscrapers, bridges, etc... So it not just not nuclear reactors but all major construction projects.

As opposed to places like the US now that dick around with paperwork, legal wrangling and take twenty years to rebuild a section of the Bay Bridge. Note key parts of the Bay Bridge are built by China and shipped over. The bridge damaged in 1989, might get done in 2013 for about $12 billion. The stated price of construction has grown nearly fivefold, from the $1.3 billion estimated in 1996 to more than $6.3 billion today.

That $6.3 billion, mind you, is the projected cost of salaries and construction materials only. The difference between that and the $12 billion figure? The actual cost of those things, plus crazy finance charges. The East span is being built in China and shipped over.

Meanwhile the Sutong bridge (one of many in China) was completed in 2008 for about $1.7 billion and took 5 years to complete.

With a span of 1,088 metres (3,570 ft), it is the cable-stayed bridge with the longest main span in the world as of 2010. Its two side spans are 300 metres (980 ft) each, and there are also four small cable spans. The bridge received the 2010 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement award (OCEA) from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Two towers of the bridge are 306 metres (1,004 ft) high and thus the second tallest in the world. The total bridge length is 8,206 metres (26,923 ft). Construction began in June 2003, and the bridge was linked up in June 2007. The bridge was opened to traffic on 25 May 2008 and was officially opened on 30 June 2008. Construction has been estimated to cost about US$1.7 billion.

Some other bridges

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