China prepares for nuclear exports

18 March 2016

China's two biggest state-owned nuclear power operators on 17 March a joint venture (JV), Hualong International Nuclear Power Technology Co, to export their Generation III Hualong One nuclear power reactor. The JV, based in Beijing is an equal joint venture between China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC). The company chairman is CGN's Zou Yongping and the general manager is CNNC's Xu Pengfei.

CGN and CNNC, which will have equal representation on the board of the new company, signed a framework agreement in December to merge their Hualong One reactor designs and jointly market the technology internationally. At that time, the two companies signed the shareholder contribution agreement and the articles of association for creating Hualong International. The previous August, they had signed a "technology integration agreement". In separate statements today, the two companies said the JV had now officially begun operating. They said that since December, Hualong International had completed industrial and commercial registration in Beijing. Meanwhile, CGN and CNNC have been working on integrating their technologies into the export model of the Hualong One.

China plans to build around 30 nuclear power units in countries along its "Belt and Road" initiative by 2030, CNNC chairman Sun Qin said earlier in March. The Belt And Road initiative sees the building of a network of land, sea and air routes that will open new trade links and markets for Chinese firms as the domestic economy slows.

Construction of six Hualong One reactors has been approved within China, according to CGN. Three Hualong One reactors are officially listed by the International Atomic Energy Agency as "under construction" in China - units 5 and 6 at the Fuqing NPP in Fujian province and unit 3 at Fangchenggang NPP in Guangxi province. In February, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported that CGN was planning to deploy the Hualong One design for units 5 and 6 at the NPP in Fujian province, while CNNC plans to use the technology in the first two reactors at the proposed Zhangzhou project, also in Fujian.

CGN may also build a Hualong One reactor at Bradwell in southern England in the future as part of an agreement signed during President Xi Jinping's visit to the UK in October. Recently, the European Commission approved a strategic partnership between CGN and France's EDF Group aimed at building new NPPs in the UK. CNNC has reached bilateral agreements on nuclear energy cooperation with a number of countries including Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, the UK, France and Jordan, Sun said. China is also looking to build Turkey's third NPP (see related story)

The Hualong One reactor, also known as the HPR1000, is a 1,100MWe, three-loop pressurised water reactor with combined active and passive safety systems. It has a single stack layout, 177 nuclear fuel assemblies, a double containment structure, and comprehensive implementation of "defence-in-depth" design principles, CNNC said. The design is based on CGN's ACPR-1000, a more advanced version of CGN's Generation II CPR-1000 and CNNC's ACP-1000 designs.

In 2012 the government directed CNNC and CGN to 'rationalise' their reactor programmes by merging the ACP1000 and ACPR1000 into a standardised design - the Hualong One. Each company has its own supply chain and their versions of Hualong One will differ slightly (units built by CGN will use some features from the ACPR1000), but the design is considered to be standardised.

Hualong International will "actively implement" China's nuclear power development strategy, which is "committed to the continued integration and development of Hualong One as an independent third-generation nuclear power technology, with the unified management of the Hualong brand, intellectual property and other related assets at home and abroad", CGN and CNNC said. The company will promote Hualong One as the Chinese nuclear power industry's "flagship brand".

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