Recent milestones in the nuclear cooperation between Rosatom and China (3)

Recent milestones in the nuclear cooperation between Rosatom and China (3)

But the package of documents signed in China is not limited to the contracts on the serial construction of VVER-1200. An intergovernmental agreement was signed and a framework contract for the construction of the Chinese demonstration reactor CFR-600, the first concrete day on the site was poured at the end of last year. If Russia is a recognized world leader in this area, the only country that has BN-600 and BN-800 industrial reactors at Beloyarsk NPP, China is just beginning to develop this project. Of course, the experience of the Chinese nuclear power engineers already exists – together with the enterprises of Rosatom in China, an experimental fast neutron reactor (CEFR) near Beijing, a thermal power of 65 MW and an electrical power of 25 MW has been built.

Development of the project and the creation of the CEFR reactor represent 20 years of joint work of a number of enterprises of the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Atomic Energy, reorganized in Rosatom in 2007 , and the leading organization on the Chinese side, the China Institute of Atomic Energy, CIAE . Fundamental studies of fast reactor technology in China began as early as the mid-1960s, and the concept of evolutionary development in China of this type of reactor was gradually developed. The concept provides for three main stages:


  • Development and construction of an experimental BN reactor with an electric capacity of 25 MW;
  • Construction of a demonstration fast reactor with an electrical capacity of 600-800 MW;
  • Launch of a commercial reactor with an electric power from 1000 to 1500 MW.


In 1988-1990, the CIAE conducted research and practical work that allowed the government to include in the government program the construction of the experimental CEFR-25 reactor, starting in 1996. But cooperation with Rosatom enterprises began four years earlier, back in 1992. At the first stage several scientific teams joined the work at once – the concept of the power unit, the technical requirements and the main components of the reactor were developed jointly by the CIAE and OKBM (Experimental Design Bureau of Machine Building), Afrikantov, St. Petersburg Institute “Atomenergoproekt” and Obninsk Institute of Physics and Power.

At the second stage of the cooperation, a technical project of the CEFR was developed, and it should be noted that the technical requirements presented by CIAE specialists, significantly exceeded the then current in Russia restrictions on radiation safety, radioactive emissions / discharges and emergency situations. As a result, russian developers have received an excellent experience, fully used in the design and construction of the BN-800 reactor in Russia – an excellent example of mutual enrichment of the experience and knowledge of two nuclear schools.

In March 1995, an agreement was concluded between Minatom and the Chinese Atomic Energy Corporation on cooperation in the establishment of an experimental fast neutron reactor in the territory of the People’s Republic of China. In the beginning of 1999 CIAE received permission to build a CEFR reactor, which allowed to move to the third stage of cooperation – the manufacture and testing of prototypes, as well as the supply of reactor equipment and fuel by Russian enterprises. To test the technical solutions laid down in the project, several experimental stands were created in Russia – at OKBM, FEI, NIIFA, in NIIAR. After the agreement on the construction, the CEFR became intergovernmental in 2000, the work went more actively, TVEL was connected to the project, as well as OAO Mashinostroitelny Zavod, Podolsky ZIOMAR, Research Institute Teplopribor, Scientific and Technical Center Elegiya, OKB Gidropress. At the stage of installation and physical start-up, Rosenergoatom’s employees, the company that operates all of Russia’s nuclear power plants, joined in. A perfect example of mutually beneficial cooperation, which helped Russia to support and develop the experience of designing and building reactors on fast neutrons.

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Arnaud Lefevre

Arnaud Lefevre is the Chief Executive Officer of Dynatom International. Arnaud is in charge of the international development of the business portfolio.