China designs reactor for district heating

11 September 2018

The preliminary design of the DHR-400 (Yanlong) low-temperature reactor for district heating has been completed, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has announced.

The pool-type Yanlong reactor project was launched in November 2017 after a pool-type light-water reactor developed by the China Institute of Atomic Energy had continuously supplied heat for 168 hours. CNNC said the 400MWt Yanlong reactor is a "safe, economical and green reactor product targeting the demand for heating in northern cities."

Using the Yanlong reactor for district heating is an "effective way to improve China's energy resource structure...and to ease the increasing pressures on energy supplies," CNNC noted. It added that "Nuclear energy heating could also reduce emissions, especially as a key technological measure to combat haze during winter in northern China. Thus, it can benefit the environment and people's health in the long run."

“In terms of costs, the thermal price is far superior to gas, and is comparably economical with coal and combined heat and power," CNNC added.

Research on the possible application of nuclear heat began in China in the early 1980s. Two types of nuclear heating reactors were developed by the Institute of Nuclear Energy and Technology (INET) at Tsinghua University  - a deep pool type, and a vessel type. The vessel type reactor was selected for development and construction of a 5MWt experimental nuclear heating reactor began in 1986 and was completed in 1989. The demonstration NHR200-II was developed from this.

A feasibility study on constructing China's first nuclear plant (based on the NHR200-II) for district heating is being carried out by China General Nuclear and Tsinghua University. Last year, the authorities issued guidance on clean heating in winter in northern China, and the National Energy Administration released a five-year plan for 2017-2021, highlighting the innovation of clean heating technology and consideration of nuclear heating.

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