China high temperature nuclear reactor could replace coal plants and provide industrial heat

China is moving rapidly towards using nuclear power as an industrial heat source and as a direct replacement for coal, Yulong Wu, CEO of Chinergy, told a side event at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA’s) General Conference today.

Five years into the HTR-PM program, technical tests of most innovative components and materials are complete, and on-site the reactor vessel and some non-fuel graphite spheres are loaded. The design sees two pebble-bed reactors cooled by helium produce 250 MWt MWt each and drive one steam turbine to produce 210 MWe net. It can be configured for varying ratios of electricity and heat.

Applications for HTR-PM include direct replacement of coal-fired power plants, while its heat could be used for desalination of seawater for human consumption, production of hydrogen, or a wide range of other high temperature heat applications in industry.

Final testing of the steam generator which transfers heat from helium coolant to a water/steam loop. Wu said these should be complete by next April.

Beyond HTR-PM, China proposes a scaled-up version called HTR-PM600, which sees one large turbine rated at 650 MWe driven by some six HTR-PM reactor units.

Feasibility studies on HTR-PM600 deployment are underway for Sanmen, Zhejiang province, Ruijin, Jiangxi province, Xiapu and Wan’an, in Fujian province, and Bai’an, Guangdong province.

The reactor concept is a focus for cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia, which would like to use nuclear energy for electricity and production of drinking water through desalination.

Annals of Nuclear Energy – Process heat applications of HTR-PM600 in Chinese petrochemical industry: Preliminary study of adaptability and economy


• High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactor (HTGR) could work as heat source for petrochemical industry.
• The joint of a 600 MW modular HTGR (HTR-PM600) and petrochemical industry is achievable.
• The mature technology of turbine in thermal power station could be readily adopted.
• The economy of this scheme is also acceptable.


High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactor (HTGR) could work as heat source for petrochemical industry. In this article, the preliminary feasibility of a 600 MW modular HTGR (HTR-PM600) working as heat source for a typical hypothetical Chinese petrochemical factory is discussed and it is found that the joint of HTR-PM600 and petrochemical industry is achievable. In detail, the heat and water balance analysis of the petrochemical factory is given. Furthermore, the direct cost of heat supplied by HTR-PM600 is calculated and corresponding economy is estimated. The results show that though there are several challenges, the application of process heat of HTGR to petrochemical industry is practical in sense of both technology and economy.