China launches new uranium enrichment centrifuges

21 March 2018

China has completed a "large-scale demonstration project for a new generation of uranium enrichment centrifuges", China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) announced yesterday. The new centrifuges have now been put into production at the Hanzhun fuel facility in Shaanxi province.

Demonstration enrichment plant - 460 (CNNC)
Operators of the demonstration centrifuge project (Image: CNNC)

The project was independently researched and developed by CNNC and has its own independent intellectual property rights, the company said.

"The completion of the demonstration project shows that China's uranium enrichment centrifuges have been upgraded and have large-scale commercial conditions, and the technological level and economic performance have been further improved to reach the international advanced level," CNNC said. "The development and industrialisation of a new generation of uranium enrichment centrifuges will further increase China's position and competitiveness in the international uranium enrichment field."

An enrichment plant started at Lanzhou, Gansu province, in 1964 for military use and operated commercially between 1980 and 1997 using Soviet-era diffusion technology. A Russian centrifuge plant of 500,000 SWU per year started operation there in 2001.

An enrichment plant using Russian centrifuges was also set up at Hanzhun in Shaanxi province under agreements between Russia and China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation (CNEIC). The first two modules at Hanzhun came into operation in 1997 and 2000, adding capacity for 500,000 SWU per year. Further capacity of 500,000 SWU per year at Hanzhun was commissioned in mid-2011.

An expansion project at Hanzhun was constructed over 2012-14, with 1.2 million SWU per year capacity using indigenous technology. The first domestically-produced centrifuge was successfully installed at the plant in February 2013.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News