First concrete was poured for China’s commercial scale HTR-PM 210 MWe pebble bed reactor on December, 2012 This is scheduled to be completed in 2017 and China is planning factory mass production and further technology refinement for later versions.
Future of HTR Development
* Duplication, mass production
Next project steps:
* Super critical steam turbine, co-generation
R and D on future technologies:
* Higher temperature,
* Hydrogen Production,
* Process heat application,
* Gas turbine
Technology of 5g U/fuel to 7g U/fuel has been demonstrated.
* INET demo production facility has been finished,
* Manufacturing of irradiated fuels, finished.
* Fuel irradiation tests are underway.
* Engineering and licensing of a new pebble bed fuel plant is finished, construction soon starts.
There have been detailed cost estimates made of the chinese pebble bed reactor compared to the low costs (half or less of the western cost) for pressurized water reactors (PWR – current standard reactors).
Estimates show that the capital costs of an Nth-of-akind HTR-PM plant with multiple NSSS modules should be in the range of 90–120% of the costs of a PWR. Further reductions are expected to be possible.
China is pretty sure that they can get the HTR-PM in the range of the price of their PWR and they will produce heat (higher temperature than PWR) that allows the HTR-PM to be a drop in replacement for coal plants. The HTR-PM would also be able to compete for smaller projects in the 210 to 420 MWe range.