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Nuclear firm confident reactor can pass strict UK test

By Zheng Xin (China Daily) Updated: 2016-10-10 07:52

China General Nuclear Power Corp has said it is confident that the Chinese-made Hualong One reactor will pass Britain's strict approval process in five years.

The technology, also known as HPR1000, will be submitted to the UK Office for Nuclear Regulation for its rigorous generic design assessment by the end of this year, the company said.

If it passes, the design will be used at the proposed power station at Bradwell, on the east coast of England, which would be the first nuclear project in a developed market to use a Chinese reactor.

"We completed all preparatory work regarding the technology's assessment in July, and we received positive feedback from Britain during a technology conference last year," said Mao Qing, the project manager at CGN responsible for Hualong One's assessment.

"We have thoroughly studied the technologies that have gone through the process in the past and are confident Hualong One will meet the UK's stringent safety, security and design requirements."

According to He Yu, the chairman of CGN, passing the assessment will also lead to more countries having confidence in the Chinese reactor, which is based on third-generation nuclear technology, and will push forward its global market development.

The company said countries including Thailand, Indonesia, Kenya, South Africa, Turkey, Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic "have shown an interest" in the technology.

CGN recently signed a final agreement on the 18 billion pound ($23.4 billion) Hinkley Point C power plant with the French utility EDF and the British government. The project has been hailed as a gateway to promote Chinese nuclear technology.

The proposed Bradwell project consists of two Hualong One reactors, each with an output of 1.15 gigawatts. CGN will hold a 66.5 percent share of the project, with EDF holding the rest.

Greg Clark, the UK business secretary, was quoted by the Daily Mail newspaper as saying the contract for Hinkley Point was a crucial moment, as it marks Britain's first new nuclear power station for a generation.

"Britain needs to upgrade its supplies of energy, and we have always been clear that nuclear power stations like Hinkley play an important part in ensuring our future low-carbon energy security," he said.

Cao Yigang, senior investment manager at CGN, said the company was confident of recouping its costs soon.

"The projects, despite not being profitable, will bring reasonable returns for investors," he said. "The flagship program is a triple win for China, Britain and France."

CGN spokesman Huang Xiaofei said Britain has one of the most stringent nuclear licensing and operating regimes in the world, which will secure future returns.

The company, formerly China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding, was established in 1994 as a key State-owned enterprise. Its first project, the Daya Bay plant in Shenzhen, was built in partnership with French company Framatone, which was later renamed Areva and acquired by EDF.

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