Chinese companies under pressure to standardise Hualong One

20 August 2017

China has approved a plan by its two state nuclear developers to promote a single integrated nuclear reactor brand that will help speed up construction and strengthen their ability to compete in markets overseas, Reuters reported on 14 August. The China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and the China General Nuclear Project Corporation (CGN) have been jointly developing an advanced model known as Hualong One, but despite government pressure, they have continued to work separately on their own designs. In 2012 central planners directed CNNC and CGN to 'rationalise' their reactor programmes, with CNNC's ACP1000 and CGN's ACPR1000  being merged into the standardised Hualong One design.

In a plan recently approved by regulators, the two companies agreed to use integrated technical standards when building Hualong reactors. They will also transfer intellectual property rights to Hualong International, a joint venture launched by the firms last year, China's Energy Observer reported, citing a CGN spokesman. The firms declined to comment when contacted by Reuters, but a Beijing-based industry consultant said the agreement, backed by the National Energy Administration, could pressure the rivals to cooperate more closely.

"This is a sign that the mess is being considered at a high level, but the merger will remain window dressing and there are still in fact two Hualongs," he said.

CNNC is building its own version at units 5 and 6 of the Fuqing NPP in the eastern coastal province of Fujian, with the first scheduled to launch in 2019. It also expects to finish a Hualong unit at Pakistan's Chashma nuclear complex by 2020, the first overseas, and start work on another in Argentina by 2020. Meanwhile, CGN is constructing its first Hualong One in Fangchenggang, a city on the southwest coast. this will serve as the "reference" plant for a proposed project at Bradwell in England, with the technology currently being assessed by British regulators. 

China's National Energy Administration reportedly approved a program last month for integrating the respective Hualong One reactor designs of China National Nuclear Corporation and China General Nuclear into a unified design. According to Reuters, the two companies have agreed to use integrated technical standards when building Hualong One reactors and to transfer intellectual property rights to the joint venture they established last year, Hualong International.

Meanwhile, construction of the wall of the steel liner of the containment structure at the second Hualong One unit under construction at the Fuqing plant has been completed, CNNC announced on 8 August. The final section of the steel liner was installed on 2 August. The next step in the construction of Fuqing 6 will be the installation of its 305-tonne dome on the walls of the containment structure. Fuqing 5 and 6 are scheduled to be completed in 2019 and 2020, respectively.



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