The CA01 ‘super module’ has been installed at unit 1 of the Lianjiang nuclear power plant in China’s Guangdong province, the first of two CAP1000 reactors planned for the first phase of the plant.

Made of concrete and steel, the module weighs more than 1,066 tonnes and is more than 27m long, 29m wide and 24m high. It is composed of 47 sub-modules and sits inside the unit’s containment module where it will house the plant’s reactor pressure vessel, steam generators and other components.

On 13 April, the module was hoisted into place at Lianjiang 1 in a process lasting more than three hours. At the end of last year, the heaviest module, known as the CA20, was installed at Lianjiang 1. This module will contain plant and equipment for used fuel storage, transmission, the heat exchanger and waste collection.

CAP1000 reactors are the Chinese version of the AP1000 Westinghouse design made in the US. They use modular construction techniques, allowing large structural modules to be built at factories and installed at the site.

In September 2022, China’s State Council approved the construction of the first two 1.25GW CAP1000 reactors at the Lianjiang site. Excavation works for the units began in the same month, with the first concrete poured for the foundation of unit 1 at the end of September 2023. The country hopes that Lianjiang unit 1 will be completed and operational by 2028. The total investment in the project is Y130bn ($18.1bn).

The power generation of all six CAP1000 units will be around 70.2 terawatt-hours (TWh) once they are operational.

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China currently has 56 operable reactors that produce around 408TWh, around 5% of China’s electricity needs. Coal still makes up the lion’s share of China’s energy mix, producing 63% of total electricity.