China to build four more Russian-design reactors

11 June 2018

China on 8 June signed an agreement with Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom for the construction of four Generation 3+ VVER-1200 reactors – units 3&4 at Xudabao nuclear plant in Liaoning province, and units 7&8 at the Tianwan nuclear station in Jiangsu province.

The commissioning of Tianwan 7 is scheduled for 2026, and Tianwan 8 for 2027. The commissioning of Xudabao 3&4 is planned for 2028. This was one of four deals during a ceremony in Beijing attended by presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin.

Russia will supply the VVER-1200 reactors and all related equipment. These agreements provide for the possibility of building new blocks in the future. The other deals were for the supply of equipment, fuel and services for China’s CFR-600 fast reactor pilot project developed by state-owned CNNC with Russian assistance, as well as for the supply of RITEG (Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator) parts for China’s lunar exploration programme. The agreements are worth more than CNY20bn ($3.1bn) and total construction costs could exceed CNY100bn, according to China National Nuclear Corporation. China will finance the reactor construction, according to Rosatom director general Alexey Likhachev.

Tianwan NPP already has four nuclear units with VVER-1000 reactors based on Russia's AES-91 project on site (Tianwan 1-4). Tianwan 1&2  began operation in 2007, and the third unit was connected to the grid in December 2017. Tianwan 4, which is preparing for fuel loading, is expected to begin operation in 2019. Construction is being carried out by Jiangsu Nuclear Power Corporation (JNPC) in cooperation with Russia's Atomstroyexport. JNPC is a joint venture between CNNC (50%), China Power Investment Corporation (30%) and Jiangsu Guoxin Group (20%). Tianwan 5&6 will be 1080MWe  Chinese design ACPR1000 reactors.  

“Tianwan has been a testing ground for Russian nuclear technology,”   Snowy Yao, an analyst at China Securities International Finance Holding Co told Bloomberg. “China looks willing to try out all the latest designs before endorsing a winner.”  Likhachov said that over the course of "longstanding cooperation with our reliable partners" - China's Atomic Energy Authority, the National Energy Administration, and the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) - "we have created an unprecedented level of trust".
China had previously signed a contract with Westinghouse to build two units at Xudabao, according to a World Nuclear Association report in October 2016. They were among six AP1000 reactors planned for the site, it said. Bloomberg said a Beijing-based Westinghouse spokesman declined to comment.

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