China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has launched online the first domestic AP1000 nuclear fuel component production line at the Baotou fuel fabrication facility in Inner Mongolia.
Although Westinghouse is providing the first cores and some re-loads for the four AP1000s nearing completion at China’s Sanmen and Haiyang NPPs, China aims to manufacture as much fuel as possible in future. Westinghouse agreed in 2011 to "design, manufacture and install fuel fabrication equipment" for China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) subsidiary China North Nuclear Fuel for $35m.
Construction of the AP1000 fuel line at Baotou began in March 2012 and was completed in October 2016. China's National Nuclear Safety Administration gave permission in March 2016 for uranium to be fed into the production line. CNNC signed a procurement contract with Sanmen Nuclear Power Company in January to provide refuelling components for the second, third and fourth operating cycles of units 1 and 2 of the Sanmen plant. The fuel production line has the capacity to produce 400 tonnes a year. The Baotou facility already makes fuel for the Candu pressurised heavy water reactors at Qinshan Phase III and has produced a prototype fuel assembly for China's CAP1400 pressurised water reactor design.
In 2016 a pilot production line was started at Baotou making fuel elements for China's HTR-PM high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) demonstration project at Shidaowan.