China’s nuclear programme isn’t immune to the woes ailing the global nuclear sector, write Mycle Schneider and Antony Froggatt. This week, the board of French state-controlled utility EDF postponed a vote on what would be the largest nuclear project in Europe in decades. A thumbs-up from the directors would have prompted EDF to deepen cooperation with Chinese counterpart CGN in the Hinkley Point C project, a plan to build two enhanced pressure reactors (EPR) in Somerset, England. The estimated cost is £24.5 billion. The delayed decision, along with the huge cost of the project and major doubts about the reactor design, has increased expectations that the power station will not go ahead. The saga of the French project in the UK is symptomatic of the state of the world nuclear industry—one step forward, two steps back. Is it now less certain that China is the exception to the rule? In a surprise move the Chinese government just stopped the construction of two EPRs in Guangdong province due to safety concerns. Fabrication faults have been identified in the reactor pressure vessel of the EPR built at Flamanville in France. The same fabrication process has been used for the Taishan vessels. The French nuclear safety authorities said they will take until the end of the year to decide whether the material used in the reactor pressure vessel—which are clearly below technical specifications—is acceptable from a safety point of view. The Chinese authorities’ attitude towards this issue will be under close international scrutiny.
China Dialogue 29th Jan 2016 read more »
A prototype fuel assembly for use in China’s Hualong One reactor design has completed the first fuel cycle irradiation test. Construction of three Hualong One units has already begun in China. The China Fuel 3 (CF3) fuel assembly completed the first irradiation test on 28 January, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) announced today. The assembly had been loaded into the core of unit 2 of CNNC’s Qinshan nuclear power plant in China’s Zhejiang province.
World Nuclear News 29th Jan 2016 read more »
China plans to develop floating nuclear power plants in an effort to double its atomic energy capacity by 2020.
Energy Business Review 28th Jan 2016 read more »