China to Submit Homegrown Nuclear Reactor Design for U.K. Review

  • Review of the Hualong One reactor is seen taking five years
  • Bradwell project in southern England to use China reactors

China will submit its homegrown Hualong One nuclear reactor design for U.K. review as it moves toward building a pair of reactors in southern England and seeks to expand exports to other nations.

State-owned China General Nuclear Power Corp. will send the design of the reactor to U.K. regulators for approval, which the company aims to complete in five years, it said in a statement Thursday after signing an atomic energy accord in London. The regulator must clear the reactor design before construction can begin.

CGN plans to build two Hualong One reactors, each with output capacity of 1.15 gigawatts, at the proposed Bradwell B project in southern England, where CGN will hold a 66.5 percent interest. The reactors are part of a broader nuclear development deal first announced in October between CGN, France’s Electricite de France SA and the U.K. government, which also includes two other atomic projects known as Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C. CGN has a 33.5 percent stake in the Hinkley venture

“It’s a landmark event for CGN and for China’s homemade Hualong One technology,” Yan Shi, a Shanghai-based analyst at UOB-Kay Hian Holdings Ltd., said by phone. “The U.K. has one of the most rigid, if not the most rigid, nuclear power technology review regimes in the world, and passing that could pave the way for CGN to export Hualong One to almost any market.”

Nuclear Technology

China is seeking wider acceptance for its atomic technology and expertise amid a global call for cleaner energy and CGN has partnered with China National Nuclear Corp. to export the Hualong One technology. The country plans to export about 30 homegrown nuclear units by 2030, CNNC Chairman Sun Qin said in March, according to a report in the China Daily.

CGN signed a memorandum of understanding with the Kenyan government in September 2015 to build a Hualong One reactor, while CNNC has its own projects in Argentina and Pakistan. Four Hualong One reactors are currently under construction in China.

“The U.K. government has said repeatedly that the country welcomes Hualong One technology, and the U.K.’s review board is totally independent and will use international standards and procedures for the review,” Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to the U.K., said in a statement posted on the embassy’s website. “I hope the review will be smooth and that Hualong One will land in the country as early as possible.”

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