China connects a new nuclear reactor to the grid and Areva has a record year in uranium production

1. Unit 1 of the Hongyanhe plant in Liaoning province in northeast China has been connected to the electricity grid. The reactor is expected to enter commercial operation later this year. The 1080 MWe Chinese-designed pressurized water reactor was connected to the grid at 3.09pm on 17 February. It now enters a phase of commissioning tests, after which it will enter commercial operation.

Hongyanhe 1 is the first of four CPR-1000 reactors currently being built at the Hongyanhe Phase I project. Its construction started in August 2007. Cold testing of the nuclear island of the unit was successfully completed in October 2012; it achieved first criticality on 16 January.

Hongyanhe 1 was previously scheduled to begin commercial operation by the end of 2012. All four units at Phase I should now be in operation by the end of 2015.

An adjacent site – Hongyanhe Phase II – will comprise two further CPR-1000 units.

Hongyanhe 1 will reduce annual coal consumption by some 10 million tonnes while cutting carbon dioxide emissions by around 24 million tonnes.

2. 2012 saw French nuclear company Areva achieve record uranium production of 9760 tU, enabling the company to retain its place as the world’s second-largest corporate uranium produce

The 9760 tU represents Areva’s financially consolidated share from its mining interests around the world and is up from 9142 tU in 2011. The figure keeps the company in second place behind world leader Kazatomprom of Kazakhstan, with a 2012 production share of nearly 12,000 tU.

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