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China's new 3rd generation reactor to play central role

By ZHENG XIN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-02-01 07:29

The No 5 nuclear power unit in Fuqing, Fujian province, is the first to use the Hualong One, a domestically designed third generation reactor, China National Nuclear Corp said on Saturday. [LIN SHANCHUAN/XINHUA]

A successful commercial operation of the world's first Hualong One reactor in China will help the country export its domestically developed third generation design to other countries, according to an analyst.

The Hualong One reactor at unit 5 of China National Nuclear Corp's Fuqing nuclear plant in Fujian province began commercial operation on Saturday, a milestone in the country's nuclear power development, according to the company.

Hualong One is the CNNC's third generation nuclear power technology, developed and designed by the corporation based on its more than 30 years of nuclear power research, design, manufacturing, construction and operation.

Analyst said the commercial operation, facilitated by recent accelerations of domestic nuclear approval, makes China the fourth country-after the United States, France and Russia-to master third generation nuclear power technology.

China approved two nuclear projects in 2020-the Hainan Changjiang nuclear power plant's unit 2 and Zhejiang San'ao nuclear power plant's unit 1. In 2019, the country opened three new nuclear power plants, in Shandong, Fujian and Guangdong provinces, ending a 2016-2018 moratorium on new projects.

"China intends to push forward opening more nuclear sites in the coastal provinces," said Wei Hanyang, a power market analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

"Guangdong has just planned one additional site up to the 6 gigawatt level in its Lianjiang coast plant, signaling more adoptions of domestic technology mixed with international standards."

According to Bloomberg's New Energy Outlook 2020, more domestic technology will be adopted with installations likely nearing the 100 GW range by the end of 2030, to meet surging power demand in coastal regions.

CNNC Chairman Yu Jianfeng said the corporation will accelerate mass construction of Hualong One reactors and developing new technologies to promote Hualong One exports and achieve China's carbon neutrality goal.

The project of building the first Hualong One reactor progressed as planned, and safety and quality have been well under control, the CNNC said.

Hualong One, with a design life of 60 years, meets the latest international nuclear safety requirements. The installed capacity of each Hualong One unit reaches nearly 1200 megawatts, and each unit can generate nearly 10 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, meeting the demand of a population of 1 million in a moderately developed country, the CNNC said.

The electricity generated by a Hualong One unit can replace the consumption of 3.12 million tons of standard coal and remove 8.16 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, equal to the carbon dioxide removed by a plantation of over 70 million trees, the CNNC said.

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