Nuclear fuel loading started at the fourth unit of the Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in China on Saturday, according to Russia's state atomic energy corporation Rosatom on Monday.
According to the company's statement, the first fuel assembly was loaded into the active zone of the reactor, of which the loading of 163 fuel assemblies are planned.
The plant is considered as the largest joint NPP project between Russia and China.
The next step will involve connecting this fourth unit to China's power grid.
"Fuel loading is the commencement of the unit's first criticality procedures. Unit 4 will then enter the start-up stage to be connected to the power grid of China," said Alexey Bannik, director of JSC ASE EC - the Engineering Division of Rosatom for projects in China.
As per schedule, all the main stages are planned for completion by the end of the year.
"The first stage of Tianwan NPP, units 1 and 2, have been demonstrating its efficiency for over 10 years," said Valery Kedrov, deputy director of St. Petersburg designing institute for the Tianwan NPP.
"In 2017 the power units generated over 170 million megawatt-hours into the power grid of the country, with the capacity factor of each unit exceeding 90 percent - a record for reactors like these," Kedrov added.
Currently, three VVER-1000 power units, which Russia designed and constructed, are operational at Tianwan NPP.
The first stage of the plant - units 1 and 2 - was accomplished in 2007, while electricity production at the third unit started on Dec. 30, 2017.
After the start-up of units 1 and 2, the NPP generated more than 15 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity.
By Firdevs Yuksel