China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) said on 21 March that it had completed development and long-term irradiation testing of a domestic nuclear fuel assembly for pressurised water reactors (PWRs).
Testing of four sets of CF3 fuel assemblies was recently completed at unit 2 of the Qinshan II nuclear plant. The fuel was loaded into the CNP-600 PWR in July 2014.
CNNC said the test results confirmed that the performance of the fuel assemblies met international standards for fuel of similar types. The assemblies underwent poolside inspections during each fuelling cycle.
Completion of the tests is a key step towards large-scale domestic use of the new fuel, including in China-made Hualong One pressurised water reactor designs.
The CF3 fuel assemblies are manufactured at CNNC's main PWR fuel fabrication plant at Yibin in Sichuan province, with fuel pellets from Kazakhstan's Ulba Metallurgical Plant.
Hualong One reactors are currently under construction at Fuqing 5&6 for start up in 2019, and at Fangchenggang 3&4 for start up in 2020. Two more Hualong One reactors are under construction at Karachi in Pakistan and China also hopes to construct two at the Bradwell NPP in the UK.