Russia and China to co-operate on fast reactors closed fuel cycle

23 March 2023

A Comprehensive Long-Term Cooperation Programme in the area of fast reactors and nuclear fuel cycle closure has been signed on the sidelines of the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Russia.

The document was signed by Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev and Zhang Kejian, the Chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA).

The document covers several strategic areas including expansion of interaction with regard to the current projects as well as implementation of new ones related to fast reactors, the production of uranium-plutonium fuel, and management of used fuel. The programme provides for development of a roadmap for its implementation by the end of 2024.

Co-operation is expected to continue over the coming decades and to extend to the international level. It continues previous collaborations.

In June 2018, a strategic package of documents defined the main directions for developing cooperation between Russia and China in the field of nuclear energy. These included the construction of four generation 3+ VVER-1200 reactors, two each at the Tianwan NPP (units7&8) and the Xudabao NPP (units 3&4). Other areas of cooperation included a contract for the supply of nuclear fuel by TVEL for China’s sodium-cooled CFR-600 fast reactor.

It said the programme "provides for the preparation of a road map for its implementation by the end of 2024. In essence, we are talking about cooperation for decades to come and the formation of vectors for the development of nuclear energy at the global level".

In a related interview with Ria Novosti, Likhachev said the sanctions imposed on Russia had not affected implementation of Rosatom's projects in China. He noted that Russia had assisted with construction of four units at the Tianwan NPP (units 1-4) and the demonstration fast-neutron reactor CEFR. Rosatom's fuel company TVEL had also fully fulfilled its 2022 plan to supply China with nuclear fuel for the CFR-600 reactor. Likhachev said work was continuing unhindered at the Tianwan and Xudabao NPPs. In addition, in 2022, Chinese shipyards had laid the hull of the first Russian NPP for a new Arctic project.

Image: China and Russia have agreed to extend their cooperation in the field of nuclear energy (courtesy of

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