Playing the Leading Role in the Global Nuclear Industry – China’s Innovation for Advanced Passive Reactor

Written by Zaf Coelho. Posted in Uncategorized

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 61st General Conference of IAEA in Vienna. As one of the member states, China was represented by China Atomic Energy Agency (CAEA) and the State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC).

During one of the side events, the Senior Vice President of SNPTC Dr. Zheng Mingguang gave a presentation which gave an overview of the current stage of China’s nuclear industry and compared the different reactor technologies designed by China. With Fuqing Unit 4 commissioned in August this year, there is currently 37 reactors operating in China and 19 reactors under construction which is more than any other country in the world. Unlike others, China does not undertake only one certain nuclear reactor type. Instead there are different designs of reactor being developed simultaneously in China, including CAP1400, Hualong-1, High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor, VVER which was adopted from Russia, and CANDU the heavy water reactor which was adopted from Canada.

The National Middle & Long Term Key Project-CAP1400

CAP1400 was designed based on the passive 2-loop GEN III reactor AP1000. Development of CAP1400 including the design & equipment developed to meet with the Chinese-standards. According to the design, CAP1400 has less number of welding, less spare parts, and less waste generated. The operation flexibility was also enhanced after Fukushima.

Another important feature of CAP1400 which was emphasized during the presentation is the better economy. After the localization of its supply chain, and the strategic supplier assessment, the economics of CAP1400 construction is projected to be better controlled. It is estimated as USD 3000 per kW of the output cost in China.

China’s Ambassador to UN Vienna Mr. Shi Zhongjun commented during the conference as “the National Key Project of large-scale advanced passive PWR is a strategic arrangement of China being a strong power of the global nuclear industry and achieving the leapfrog development of the nuclear technology.”

Up to date, the design of CAP1400 has been approved by China National Energy Administration and it has passed the reactor safety assessment of IAEA. The CAP1400 demonstration nuclear power plant site-design in Rongchen has been 96% accomplished and ready for construction.

China’s Innovation on Small Module Reactors

SNP350 is the advanced technology applied for CNP300 which China has constructed in Chashma, Pakistan. SNP350 is designed to meet all the latest regulations, standards and requirements, with most advanced design methods and tools, modern material, manufacturing process, measuring instrument and control system. It has the features of better balancing, better risk control, and simplified operation and maintenance.

CNP300, designed by SNERDI,at Chashma Nuclear Power Plant, Pakistan

CAP200 is also an innovation which aims to replace thermal plants. Compare to other reactors, CAP200 is more flexible to have extensive site adaptability. It contains 32m deep underground structure with seismic isolation layer to ensure its better natural disaster resistance.

Suggestions for a Better Future of the Nuclear Industry

During the presentation, the Chinese representatives also shared the suggestions on the future development of the industry. One of the interesting point is that the future development should be divided into two directions, with the large-scale project being constructed, small-scaled reactor should be focused in the near-city area. With the multiple applications of heating, cooling, desalination etc. SMR in the future can play a very important role to be involved in our daily life.

Today, more and more people in the nuclear industry are putting their attention on China. As I see, China has taken the responsibility well to lead the development of global nuclear industry. We can see China’s effort on developing safer, more reliable, more sustainable, more scalable, and more economic nuclear power reactor technology.

Do you have any questions or interesting opinion with regards to China’s nuclear industry?

China’s newly published Nuclear Safety Law: “Strict” ?

Written by Zaf Coelho. Posted in Uncategorized

In early September, China’s National Congress approved the first law for nuclear safety and security in China, and it will take effect from 1st January 2018, which will effectively put an end to the no-law-to-apply history of China’s nuclear industry.

What is in the nuclear safety law?

It is an extensive piece of legislature comprising of 8 sections and 94 articles written on nuclear safety law. They include:

  • General principles
  • Safety of nuclear materials and radioactive waste
  • Nuclear accident contingency
  • Information management and public participation
  • Supervision and inspection
  • Legal liability
  • Supplementary articles.

For the content, the Nuclear Safety Law clarifies the duty and qualification of nuclear operators in China. It notes the standards of the nuclear fuel and nuclear waste. The Nuclear Accident Contingency Committee and the nuclear accident contingency process are also elaborated in the safety law. Besides, in-land nuclear power plant and coastal nuclear power plant are not differentiated in the law. This would imply that in-land nuclear power plant built in China will have to adhere to the same safety standard as coastal nuclear power plants.

An important point to note, it is also spelt out clearly in the nuclear safely law that no one (citizen, legal person, organization) can spread false nuclear accident information in China. The penalty for doing so will be up to CNY 5 million (USD760k). Other incidents such as radioactive pollution and betrayal by leaking confidential information, will also be subjected to severe financial penalties.

To give an example, Chinese nuclear power plant operators are supposed to apply for a permission from the State Council supervision department before proceeding with activities like nuclear power plant site selection, construction, operation, and decommissioning, Besides, the law also requires that each Chinese nuclear operator needs to set aside enough fund as an insurance for any nuclear accident contingency.

Government’s attitude towards nuclear safety law

This new-published China Nuclear Safety Law is a milestone in the legislation in China’s nuclear industry. The Deputy Director of China National Nuclear Safety Administration Guo Chengzhan commented: “China today is a large market for the nuclear industry, with the total installed capacity of nuclear energy is the third largest in the world, it is a tough task to keep the nuclear energy safe and secure in China. Thus, a constitution of the nuclear safety is essential and necessary to implement the guideline “operate nuclear by law” raised by the central government.”

As the feature of the Nuclear Safety Law, in my opinion “strict” is the best word to describe it. The Director of National Congress Legislation Office Tong Weidong said the Nuclear Safety Law is strict on the standards, strict on the regulations, strict on the supervision and strict on the punishment.

“China’s approach to nuclear security” has been written in the law

In 2014, during the third Nuclear Security Summit in Den Haag, Netherland, the Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward China’s approach to nuclear security for the first time, which provided an important and useful perspective to promote international nuclear security. It is to place the same emphasis on development and security, rights and obligations, independent and collaborative efforts, treating symptoms and addressing causes. The nuclear safety law is one of the best examples that implements the essence of Xi Jinping’s nuclear security approach. It also shows the serious attention from China’s central government on the nuclear industry development.

The importance of public participation in the nuclear industry

To the nuclear industry, information disclosure and public participation is one of the most important items to keep the industry developing in a healthy manner. In the nuclear safety law, there is one section focusing on this topic. It encourages the public to learn more information about the nuclear industry and to participate in the nuclear industry development, to not fear nuclear energy, and eventually increase the acceptance of nuclear energy in China. This shows the long-term determination of China’s government to develop the nuclear industry.

The publication of Nuclear Safety Law is that China is timely with the Chinese nuclear industry now with over 30 years’ experience of developing the nuclear energy. It has completed China’s nuclear industry system, for China connecting to the international nuclear market. It is a positive and encouraging signal to accelerate China’s nuclear industry development.

What are your thoughts on China’s Nuclear Safety Law?

Nuclear safety and security is a very important topic of China’s nuclear industry and it will be discussed during the 6th Asia Nuclear Business Platform, which will take place 9-10 May 2018 in Shanghai. For more information please contact

CNNC and Shanghai to Establish an Advanced Nuclear R&D Center

Written by Zaf Coelho. Posted in Uncategorized

On 28 August 2017, under the auspices of Shanghai General Secretary Han Zheng, Director of SASAC (State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission) of State Council Xiao Yaqing, the Mayor of Shanghai Ying Yong, CNNC (China National Nuclear Corporation) and Shanghai Economy and Information Technology Commission signed an agreement for CNNC to locate its advanced nuclear technology R&D center in Shanghai.

Under the agreement, CNNC will establish the following entities in Shanghai

  1. Nuclear Operation Research Institute
  2. Heavy Water Reactor Research and Development Company
  3. Nuclear Technology Investment Company
  4. Floating Nuclear Power Platform Development Company
  5. UK-China Joint Nuclear Research and Innovation Center

The Chariman of CNNC Wang Shoujun said “Shanghai will be a very important base of CNNC’s future development, Shanghai is now targeting to be a global leading research and innovation center, which will help China to become a significant scientific power.”

Elaborating further, Wang Shoujun highlighted that in the new era, CNNC will make use of the industrial, financial, technological, and location advantages of Shanghai, focusing on advanced technology research and development, deepening the cooperation with Shanghai, to establish a hundred-billion level capital operation platform and a strong driving force of the nuclear industry.

CNNC Shanghai R&D Center will focus on the research of developing:

  • New nuclear reactor technology
  • Nuclear manufacturing
  • Innovation of nuclear service industry

It will make Shanghai the hub of five sub-fields in the nuclear industry:

  1. Nuclear Technology Innovation Center
  2. Nuclear Industry Financial Service Center
  3. High-end Nuclear Equipment Supply Center
  4. Nuclear Safety and Security Service Center
  5. Nuclear Healthcare and Medication Industry Center

CNNC and Shanghai have been working together for a very long time ever since the first nuclear power plant in China. It believes that the cooperation between CNNC and Shanghai will bring the development of China’s nuclear industry to a new high level.


This article was first published here

China to transform Shanghai into world-leading nuclear power tech hub

Written by Zaf Coelho. Posted in Uncategorized

China aims to build a world-class nuclear energy innovation hub in five years, rallying support from eight state-owned giants and leading academies, a milestone for the country’s ambitious plan to become a global nuclear forerunner.

Located in Shanghai, long a hotbed of nuclear innovation in China, the plan aims to make major breakthroughs conducive to a full industrial upgrading. This will include R&D, manufacturing of fourth-generation reactors and new types of pressurized water reactors; small reactors, marine nuclear power platforms, special nuclear materials; the construction of high-quality test benches and manufacturing chains, according to Zheng Mingguang, deputy general manager of the Shanghai-based State Nuclear Power Technology (SNPTC), the initiator of the project.

The mega plan will be pillared by the establishment of new innovative bodies in Shanghai, including an industry cloud and big data center, an advanced equipment manufacturing center, and a basic science innovation center to further establish China as a nuclear tech leader, high-end facility manufacturer and exporter.

The country’s top two nuclear energy makers, China National Nuclear and China Nuclear Power Engineering have signed up, pledging to deploy resources from their Shanghai affiliates to the new hub. Also on board are electrical equipment manufacturers, including Shanghai Electric, and brain powers such as the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics under Chinese Academy of Social Science, Shanghai Supercomputer Center, and Shanghai Jiaotong University.

“As China moves to the forefront of nuclear technology, there is a greater need for the integration of resources between research institutes and companies. In the next step, SNPTC will team up with Shanghai Jiaotong University to build a technology testing and verification base in Shanghai’s Lingang District,” said Zheng.

Shanghai is the birthplace of China’s nuclear power. In the 1970s, it housed China’s first domestically designed and built 300,000 KW Qinshan Plant, when more than 180 facility makers and research institutes laid roots in Shanghai to support its completion. Today, Shanghai has evolved into a major cluster of Chinese nuclear tech companies.

This article was first published on People’s Daily Online on 12 July