Applying for GDA for the Hualong—How confident is China?

Applying for GDA for the Hualong—How confident is China?

The announcement that Britain has officially accepted the application of the General Design Assessment for Hualong No.1 has attracted much attention from the global media and the emerging market economics. It is the first time for this Chinese technology to start a process by a foreign assessment, plus, this assessment is famous for its “strictness”. How confident is China?

This article comes from an interview of the Chief Technical Officer of Hualong No.1 Mr. Mao Qing,

A showcase of China’s Nuclear in this GDA

“It is the first time to display and verify our own nuclear technology to our foreign counterparts, especially in the United Kingdom which  masters so advanced nuclear expertise. It is a golden opportunity to promote China’s technical strength.” Mr. Mao said.

“The most rigorous nuclear assessment is to go global”

The GDA has always been regarded as the most rigorous inspection with the characteristics of long periodicity, big difficulty and heavy investment. Among the five types of reactors applying for the GDA in the world, only the EPR passed it after 66 months efforts, investing tremendous manpower and materials.

What is the complexity of the GDA?

There there is a difference between the United Kingdom and the China-US-Europe in the philosophy of the nuclear safety regulatory review. The former has no specific and fixed standards or limits in the nuclear safety requirements. Instead, it requires the applicant to prove its design satisfies  the principle of as low reasonably achievable (the ALARA principle) , the best practicable technology principle and the best practice principle.

“Therefore,we need to prepare a mass of arguments and analysis plus documents and reports to illustrate that our own technology is progressive, safe,  mature and reliable, which is much more complicated compared to purely prove our technology could reach a certain limit. ”Mr. Mao explained. “So, as long as China can pass the GDA, we can enhance the recognition and acceptance of Hualong No.1 to other countries and promoting it global.

Using five years to obtain the “Permit”

 Mr. Mao talked that at present China General Nuclear (CGN) and Electricity of France (EDF) have co-worked out a detailed project scheduling: the Hualong GDA will be divided into 4 stages with an estimated period of 60 months.

First phase—Preparation Stage, 10 months, draft the preliminary safety report;

Second phase—12 months, review the preliminary safety report;

Third phase—13 months, review of the three comprehensive reports including the safety report before construction, the environmental statement and the nuclear security overall plan;

Fourth phase—25 months, improve and perfect the focus and feedback from the British nuclear safety regulatory body.

“In order to pass the GDA, CGN has prepared for almost 2 years ahead of time. And it established the “General Nuclear Energy System Company” together with EDF as the main project participant in Hualong GDA.” Mr. Mao added, “So we are confident to wrap up all the tasks of GDA within 5 years.”

About Author

Elaine Li

Elaine Li (李益楠) is Marketing Manager for the Chinese Market. With ten years of experience in the nuclear power market, Elaine is experts for the certification of safety equipment (HAF 604 and 601) and marketing intelligence.