China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) said on 24 January that its subsidiary Baotou Nuclear Fuel Company in Inner Mongolia had received a qualification certificate permitting its production of Westinghouse Electric Company's AP1000 nuclear fuel rods. The certificate enables CNNC to complete its nuclear fuel rod production line and to manufacture AP1000 nuclear fuel assemblies. This guarantees the supply of AP1000 fuel assemblies to China's NPPs, CNNC said, and "lays a solid foundation" for research and development of large advanced pressurised water reactors, "endowed with independent intellectual property rights".
Construction of the AP1000 fuel line at Baotou began in March 2012 and the National Nuclear Safety Administration gave permission in March 2016 for uranium to be fed into the production line, which has the capacity to produce 400t a year. The Baotou plant already makes fuel for the Candu pressurised heavy water reactors at Qinshan Phase III. Earlier in 2016, the plant produced a prototype fuel assembly for China's CAP1400 pressurised water reactor design and in March, a pilot production line began operating for fuel elements for high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) demonstration project, HTR-PM.