China, the world’s largest energy consumer, is likely to add five or six nuclear reactors every year from 2016 to 2030, according to estimates in the draft 13th Five-Year Plan.
“By then, nuclear power will account for 8 to 10 percent of the total energy mix. Its current share is about 2 percent.
China is seeking to develop indigenous reactor technologies. Its three nuclear power companies are working to adapt the third-generation nuclear technology to the domestic market.
The first unit of Hualong One nuclear power plant already runs on homegrown third-generation technology developed jointly by China National Nuclear Corp and China General Nuclear Power Group. Some 85 percent of such reactors can be made domestically, with a design life of 60 years.
Both CGN and CNNC have their own supply chains. So their versions of Hualong One will differ but only slightly as the reactor design is standardized, which means 28 technical features remain the same.
CNNC is also developing a fast-neutron reactor, corresponding to fourth-generation technology. This would enable China to depend less on imported supplies of uranium.
The state-backed company was behind China’s first fast-neutron reactor, the China Experimental Fast Reactor, in 2011, whose operations reached full capacity in 2014.
The pool-type fast-neutron reactor has a thermal capacity of 65 mW and can produce 20 mW of electricity.
Meanwhile, the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute designed CAP1400, another third-generation nuclear reactor technology, based on the AP1000 reactor technology developed by the United States-based Westinghouse Electric Co. China has promoted CAP1400 both domestically and abroad.