Nuclear complex to fuel Chinese plans

05 June 2013

A 'one-stop' complex of reactor fuel facilities is planned by the two firms operating nuclear power plants in China. At Heshan in Guangdong province, it will provide conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication for China's expanding nuclear power program.

Fuel pellet
A fuel pellet during manufacture

At a cost of CNY45 billion ($7.33 billion) Heshan Nuclear Power Industry Park will feature a conversion plant to prepare uranium for enrichment, which will be carried out at the same site before manufacture into fuel pellets, rods and finished assemblies.

These will then be used in the power plants of the park's owners: China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) and China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGNPC).

Construction will begin at the end of this year with the complex slated to manufacture its first reactor fuel in 2020. By this time the two firms will have a total of over 60,000 MWe of nuclear generating capacity - some 25 to 30 large reactors each - while many more units will be under construction as China becomes the world's largest user of nuclear energy.

Most nuclear plant owners contract a range of firms for the steps in nuclear fuel production but CGNPC said the Heshan complex would be more of a 'one-stop' service for reactor fuel.

The 200 hectare fuel complex should become fully operational by 2025 to supply fuel fabrication amounting to 1000 tonnes of uranium. Conversion capacity is to be 14,000 tonnes per year.

Currently CNNC undertakes all fuel cycle work in the centre of the country, while all the nuclear power plants are on the coast. Fuel fabrication is carried out at two plants in Sichuan province and Inner Mongolia, enrichment is in Shaanxi and Gansu provinces, and conversion in Gansu province.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News