China completes AP1000 fuel production line

30 May 2016

China has completed its first production line for the manufacture of fuel for AP1000 reactors. It will make two sets of dummy assemblies before beginning full production. Westinghouse is providing the first cores and some re-loads for four AP1000s nearing completion at Sanmen and Haiyang but China intends to manufacture most of the fuel in future. Westinghouse in 2011agreed to "design, manufacture and install fuel fabrication equipment" for China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) subsidiary China North Nuclear Fuel, with the aim of supplying subsequent fuel for the Sanmen and Haiyang units as well as the country's future fleet of AP1000s. Construction of the $35m AP1000 fuel line at the Baotou fuel fabrication facility in Inner Mongolia began in March 2012. China's National Nuclear Safety Administration in March approved feeding uranium into the 400t-a-year production line.

The Baotou plant already makes fuel for the Candu pressurised heavy water reactors at Qinshan Phase III. Reactor vendor Areva will be providing the first two cores and 17 reloads for the EPR reactors it is building at Taishan. Earlier this year, the Baotou plant produced a prototype fuel assembly for China's CAP1400 pressurized water reactor design. That fuel's performance is now being verified. In March, a pilot production line was launched at Baotou for fuel elements for China's Shidaowan HTR-PM - a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) demonstration project.



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