Hualong One selected for Argentina

05 February 2015

China and Argentina have agreed to cooperate on the construction of a Chinese-designed Hualong One reactor in the South American country.

Hualong One impression (CNNC) 460x277
An artist's impression of a Hualong One unit (Image: CNNC)

During a meeting in Beijing on 4 February of Argentine president Cristina Kirchner and Chinese president Xi Jinping, a cooperation agreement was signed to "participate in the construction of a new nuclear plant featuring a light water reactor and enriched uranium in the Republic of Argentina, adopting ACP1000 technology". It was signed by Argentina's federal planning minister, Julio De Vido, and the president of China's National Energy Administration and vice president of China National Nuclear Company (CNNC), Nur Bekri.

Hualong One

In 2012 central planners in Beijing directed CNNC and the other large nuclear builder and operator, China General Nuclear (CGN), to 'rationalise' their reactor programs. This meant CNNC's ACP1000 and CGN's ACPR1000 were 'merged' into one standardised design - the Hualong One.

In fact, each company has its own supply chain and their versions of Hualong One will differ slightly (units built by CGN will use some features from the ACPR1000) but the design is considered to be standardised. It is set for wide deployment in China as well as export to other countries.

CGN's version of the reactor design has already been approved for use at units 3 and 4 of its Fangchenggang site.

The agreement provides for Nucleoeléctrica Argentina SA (NASA) to be the architect-engineer of the project. It calls for the parties to strive for the maximum local content in the new unit in terms of materials and services. This will be achieved through the transfer of technology to Argentine companies, including the manufacturing of components and fuel fabrication. The agreement also guarantees the supply of enriched uranium and fuel assemblies throughout the life of the plant.

The parties are also to consider "establishing a joint strategic partnership for the purpose of developing and building nuclear reactors in Latin America," according to the accord.

Under the agreement, CNNC now has three months in which to provide NASA with a proposal "covering technical, commercial aspects, pricing and financing." NASA will then have three months in which to respond to CNNC's proposal. The proposal and its corresponding response must then be approved by the competent authorities: Argentina's Ministry of Federal Planning and China's National Energy Administration.

The agreement aims for the signing of a framework contract for the project between CNNC and NASA by the end of 2015; for a commercial contract to be signed by the end of 2016 and a financing agreement also before the end of 2016.

The agreement marks the first potential overseas order for a Hualong One reactor. In November 2014, CNNC announced that the fifth and sixth units at Fuqing site Fujian province will use the Hualong One design, marking its first deployment.

In July 2014, China and Argentina signed a new high-level agreement towards construction of a third pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR) at the Atucha plant in Argentina. Through the agreement, CNNC was to assist NASA by providing goods and services under long-term financing. That agreement was ratified on 3 February.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News