China’s State Council on 16 December approved the construction of four additional reactors including two more units each at the Tianwan and Fangchenggang nuclear power plant sites.

Tianwan 5&6 in Jiangsu province will feature 1080MWe ACPR1000 reactors and will be 50% owned by China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), 30% by China Power Investment and 20% by Jiangsu Guoxin Asset Management Group. Fangchenggang 3&4 in Guangxi province will have Hualong One reactors, owned 61% by China General Nuclear (CGN) and 39% by Guangxi Investment Group.

The State Council stressed the need to strengthen project investment, construction quality and operation management of nuclear projects, which must adhere to high standards and strict requirements to ensure safety.

The National Nuclear Security Administration must issue construction permits before work can begin.

Work on Tianwan 5&6 was originally scheduled to start in early 2011 but was deferred following the Fukushima Daiichi accident, which prompted the Chinese government to suspended approval of all new nuclear power projects. Tianwan is already home to two Russian-designed reactors, Tianwan 1&2, which were constructed under a 1992 cooperation agreement between China and Russia and commissioned in June 2007 and September 2007, respectively. Tianwan 3&4 are under construction and will comprise two Russian-designed VVER-1000 pressurised water reactors.

At Fangchenggang construction of the first two units – both Chinese designed CPR-1000s – began in 2010. Unit 1 achieved first criticality on 13 October and was connected to the grid on 25 October. Unit 2 is scheduled to begin operation in 2016. Units 3&4 are planned to be based on Hualong One reactors, while Fangchenggang 5&6 are expected to be AP1000s.

Construction of Fangchenggang 3&4 is expected to begin shortly. They will be the reference units for the proposed Bradwell B plant in the United Kingdom. CGN has agreed to form a joint venture company with EDF Energy to seek regulatory approval for a UK version of the Hualong One design.

China has approved construction of eight reactors in 2015. It plans to build six to eight units each year from 2016 to 2020 and to invest CNY500bn ($77bn) on next-generation nuclear reactors during the five years, the state-owned Power Construction Corp of China Ltd said earlier in December, citing a draft of China’s 13th five-year plan. Nuclear generation is projected to reach 88GWe by the end of 2020.

China currently has 30 operating reactors and 21 under construction. According to the draft plan, China will allocate $570bn for nuclear new-build, aiming for nuclear to provide 10% of its energy (110 nuclear units) by 2030.

With ambitions to become an exporter of nuclear technology, CNNC recently announced China’s first software package tailored to its own nuclear power technology. "This package covers the design, manufacturing, installation, testing and operation of a nuclear power project based on our Hualong One design. It will pave the way for China to export entire nuclear power projects and

technologies," said Luo Qi, head of the China Nuclear Power Institute, one of the software developers under the CNNC.
The software package, NESTOR, comprises 68 pieces of software that will help with more efficient reactor design, safety analysis, live tests, nuclear refuelling and emergency response systems for a plant based on the Hualong One design. The software was developed by CNNC in cooperation with various research institutes, including those from Tsinghua University, Xi’an Jiaotong University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. According to Yu Peigen, CNNC deputy general manager, some of the software is already in use by domestic nuclear power plants and developers will keep updating it to match the next generation nuclear power development.