A panel of Chinese nuclear experts has endorsed the Advanced Fuel CANDU Reactor (AFCR), a new 740 MWe design that can burn both recycled uranium and thorium-based fuels.

The panel, which included members from both industry and academia, said that the AFCR forms a synergy with China’s existing pressurised water reactors and that it is positioned to "promote the development of closed fuel cycle technologies and industrial development." It also noted that the AFCR meets the latest nuclear safety requirements.

The panel went on to recommend that the AFCR should be ‘further developed’ and that construction should be initiated when the time is right.

Candu Energy developed the AFCR technology in partnership with state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC). The design complements China’s light-water-reactor technology as each AFCR can be fully fuelled by reusing the spent fuel from four LWRs as recycled uranium. This would allow China to reduce spent fuel volume, reduce reliance on imported uranium and generate a greater portion of its electricity from carbon-free sources.

Candu Energy looks forward to jointly developing the first AFCR new-build project ‘in the near future,’ says company president and CEO Preston Swafford.

Photo: The AFCR is based on Enhanced CANDU 6 technology (Courtesy Candu Energy)