Indonesia looks to HTGRs

9 August 2016

China Nuclear Engineering Corporation (CNEC) on 1 August signed an agreement with Indonesia's National Atomic Energy Agency (Batan) to develop high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGR) in Indonesia. The agreement calls for both parties to cooperate to develop an Indonesian HTGR, and for training of the facility’s personnel, CNEC said. It marks another step in China’s overseas promotion of HTGR technology, CNEC said. The company said it had recently signed a cooperation agreement with China General Nuclear Group to develop HTGRs in China and overseas.

China's first commercial HTGR demonstration project comprises two pebble-bed HTR-PM units under construction in China at Shidaowan in Shandong province. That plant will initially comprise two HTR-PM reactor modules driving a single 210 MWe steam turbine. Construction started in late 2012 and commercial operation is scheduled to start in late 2017. A proposal to construct two 600 MWe HTRs at Ruijin city in China's Jiangxi province passed a preliminary feasibility review in early 2015. The design of the Ruijin HTRs is based on the Shidaowan demonstration HTR-PM. Construction of the Ruijin reactors is expected to start next year, with grid connection in 2021.

CNEC has also signed a similar HTGR cooperation agreement with the South Africa Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) and has memoranda of understanding with Dubai and Saudi Arabia. The South African agreement targets projects and initiatives for the “localisation and development” of HTGRs in South Africa, CNEC said. CNEC has been cooperating with Tsinghua University to design and construct a HTGR since 2003, and has developed key elements of the technology. Safety features of the HTGR include a reactor core that would reach a stable and safe condition without cooling or human intervention, and systems to ensure that no radioactive material would be released into the environment, CNEC said.

Batan is promoting the introduction of NPPs in Indonesia to help meet the county's demand for power. It envisages the start-up of conventional large light-water reactors on the populous islands of Bali, Java, Madura and Sumatra from 2027 onwards. In addition, it is planning for small HTGRs (up to 100MWe) for deployment on Kalimantan, Sulawesi and other islands to supply power and heat for industrial use. In the meantime, Batan is considering building a test and demonstration HTGR with an electrical output of 3-10MWe and a thermal output of 10-30MWt.

In August 2014, Batan signed a cooperation agreement with the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) on research and development of HTGRs. JAEA has developed a small prototype gas-cooled reactor, the High-Temperature Test Reactor. This is a 30MWt graphite-moderated helium gas-cooled reactor which achieved first criticality in November 1998.

In April 2015, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom announced that a consortium of Russian and Indonesian companies led by NUKEM Technologies had won a contract for the preliminary design of a multi-purpose 10MWe HTGR at Serpong in Indonesia.

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