China agrees further Russian fuel reloads for fast reactor

04 January 2017

Russian nuclear fuel manufacturer TVEL has signed a contract with the China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIEA) for the supply of fuel to the Chinese Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR).

The CEFR (Image: China National Nuclear Corporation)

The sodium-cooled, pool-type fast reactor was constructed with Russian assistance at CIEA, which undertakes fundamental research on nuclear science and technology. The reactor has a thermal capacity of 65 MW and can produce 20 MW in electrical power. The CEFR was built by Russia's OKBM Afrikantov in collaboration with OKB Gidropress, NIKIET and Kurchatov Institute.

The new agreement, which was signed during a visit to China by a delegation from TVEL last month, covers the supply of two additional batches of fuel assemblies in 2017-2018 with loading into the reactor in 2019.

In a statement on 28 December, TVEL said the contract will enter into force on 10 January and has a value of more than $50 million.

TVEL and CIEA have worked together since 1999 on fuel supply to the CEFR. During their meeting last month, the two sides confirmed their willingness to deepen their collaboration, TVEL said.

The Russian company has invited managers from CIEA to visit its enrichment plants in the first half of this year, while the Chinese side has invited TVEL president Yury Olenin to visit the institute in April.

The CEFR was started up in July 2010 and was successfully operated at full capacity for the first time in December 2014. Core height is 45 cm, and it has 150 kg Pu (98 kg Pu-239). Temperature reactivity and power reactivity are both negative.

The CEFR project was approved by the Chinese State Council in 1992, with final approval given in 1995. The China Experimental Fast Reactor is one of the major energy projects under the national high-tech research and development program of China's "National 863 Program". CIAE, which is based near Beijing, is the organizer of the project's construction.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News