Published Jul 9, 2015

Superior aggregates boost China’s nuclear power construction

Building a nuclear power plant comes with strict quality demands for the aggregates used. That is why CNI Huaxing relies on Metso’s crushers.

CNI Huaxing
China Nuclear Industry Huaxing Construction Co., Ltd. (“CNI Huaxing”) is affiliated with China Nuclear Engineering Corporation Limited directly under the central government. It holds a unique competitive advantage in terms of liquefied natural gas engineering, military engineering, high-rise engineering and regional planning development.

In May 2015, China had 27 new nuclear reactors under construction. This accounts for 40% of all new plants under construction globally and makes China a world leader in the field. Metso’s crushing equipment is the top choice for nuclear power project contractors because it enables them to produce the high-quality aggregates needed in the construction.

Nordberg gains reputation

CNI Huaxing entered the nuclear power construction industry in 1993. The company initially used domestic crushing equipment, but these machines failed to produce aggregates that met the quality requirements. The end product was of poor quality, and the crushers were extremely difficult to repair and maintain.

In 1999, CNI Huaxing began using Metso’s crushing equipment as it undertook phase I of the Tianwan nuclear power plant project.

“Tianwan nuclear power plant is a high-tech collaboration in nuclear energy. It’s a joint venture of China and Russia and also their largest technical and economic cooperation. After thorough research, we ended up choosing the French technical team of Nordberg (Metso’s predecessor) for our crushing solution,” says Jiang Tao, the current director of the nuclear island building team of the Yangjiang nuclear power project, CNI Huaxing.

Ever since then, CNI Huaxing has relied on crushing equipment from Metso and has gained reputation with its leading technologies. Besides phase I of the Tianwan nuclear power plant at Lianyungang, CNI Huaxing has also provided aggregates to many other important Chinese nuclear power construction projects, such as phases I & II of the LingAo plant, phase II of the Ningde plant, and the Yangjiang nuclear power plant currently under construction.

“With its crushing equipment, Metso has captured the majority of the Chinese nuclear power market and has definitely become a standard configuration,” Jiang Tao says.

Huge cuts in CO2 emissions
The Yangjiang nuclear power plant is located in the coastal city of Yangjiang in western Guangdong province. At a total investment of nearly CNY 70 billion, the station will consist of six 1,000-MW CPR-1000 pressurized water reactors (PWRs). It is currently China’s largest approved nuclear power project by capacity. After completion, the plant can produce 45 billion kilowatt hours of electricity each year. It will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 36 million tons and save 16 million tons of coal annually.

“Metso’s equipment can produce the highest quality aggregates and meets the high safety requirements, so we do not hesitate to choose Metso,” he continues.

High quality demands

Since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan in March 2011, the Chinese government has substantially enhanced its nuclear safety evaluation procedures and will adopt the highest international safety standards.

High-grade concrete plays an important role in the construction of a nuclear power plant. Grain composition, grain shape, surface features and a low amount of elongated and flaky particles are essential to the concrete quality. This is why the Yangjiang project selected a Nordberg C125 jaw crusher, a Nordberg HP400 secondary cone crusher, and a Nordberg HP4 tertiary cone crusher to produce four different grades of end products: 0.16-5 mm, 5-16 mm, 5-20 mm and 16-31.5 mm.

“In addition to strict requirements on the shape and diameter of the end products, the Yangjiang nuclear power project demands that the aggregates contain 10% or less of elongated and flaky particles. To achieve this, we have adopted the world’s most advanced solutions from Metso. The content of elongated and flaky particles remains under control at around 3%, far surpassing the project requirements,” Jiang Tao states. 

Superior reliability, high returns

This aggregates production system was designed originally for units 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Yangjiang nuclear power project with an expected service life of 5 years. But, thanks to its reliability, the system has continued to supply aggregates for the construction of units 5 and 6.

“Although the plant looks a little bit rusty, most of the equipment was put into use from 2008 onwards. It has been running smoothly for 7 years, producing altogether more than 3.5 million tons of aggregates. So far, it has saved the cost of constructing a new aggregates system,” explains Du Jinyin, operations director of the aggregates production system in the Yangjiang nuclear power project of CNI Huaxing. 

The perfect performance of Metso crushing equipment has earned CNI Huaxing recognition from China General Nuclear Power Group, the project owner. China General Nuclear Power Group took the initiative to conduct in-depth cooperation with CNI Huaxing: after the completion of units 1 and 2, CNI Huaxing will continue to supply aggregates for units 3-6.

“Last year, as the construction of units 5 and 6 of the Yangjiang nuclear power plant began, the project owner offered us funds for an equipment overhaul. After careful consideration, we ordered a Nordberg C125 jaw crusher with higher capacity to replace the previous C100 crusher. Meanwhile, we opted for just preventative maintenance for our HP400 and HP4 cone crushers. The Yangjiang nuclear power project will be completed in 2018, and Metso crushers should yield 500,000 tons of products as planned,” Jiang Tao recounts.

“We must ensure a continuous supply of aggregates. More than 10,000 workers are operating at the same time on site. If the supply breaks down, most of them will have to stop working, and even a delay of just a single day results in inestimable losses. Fortunately, Metso crushers feature large capacity, high efficiency and long uptime, and they effectively support our production goal,” he emphasizes.

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