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Nuclear bonds: Russia supplies fuel for China Experimental Fast Reactor

© Global Look Press / Soeren Stache / Free

The first batch of nuclear fuel has been supplied by a subsidiary of Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom for the China Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR).

According to a company statement, the fuel has been supplied under a contract between TVEL (a Rosatom subsidiary), the China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation, and the China Institute of Atomic Energy.

CEFR is used for research purposes, though it also operates within a 20MW power unit, supplying electricity to the grid. It is classified by the International Atomic Energy Agency as the only fast power reactor in the world outside of Russia.

As part of the CEFR project, Russia and China are constructing a demonstration reactor CFR-600 in Fujian Province, China.

“We supply fuel to the VVER-1000 powered units of Tianwan NPP, we have localized fabrication of VVER-1000 fuel under license at Yibin plant, which we supply with Russian-made fuel components,” said Oleg Grigoriyev, senior vice-president for commerce and international business at TVEL.

“At the same time, we are negotiating fuel contracts for the new VVER-1200 power units in China, which will be constructed by Rosatom,” he added. “The cooperation in the field of fast reactor technologies, including the fuel cycle, bears a strategic importance as it aims at the creation of dual-component nuclear power system in the future.”

Russia and China have been strengthening ties in the nuclear energy sector. Rosatom is building nuclear units for the Tianwan nuclear power plant, which is one of the biggest joint projects of economic cooperation. The first two of its units, each with a capacity of 1,000MW, were launched in 2007. Unit 3 began operations in 2017, and the reactor at the latest, fourth unit was launched at minimum capacity in September last year after the fuel loading was finished ahead of schedule.

As part of the biggest deal between the countries, the construction of two Russian VVER-1200 units worth a total of $1.7 billion is planned at China’s Xudabao nuclear power plant.

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