Pilot assembly line in Inner Mongolia has transitioned into an industrial one
China National Nuclear Corp, one of the country’s largest nuclear companies, is one step closer to exporting its high-temperature gas cooled reactor projects to countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with its HTGR fuel assembly line entering mass production.
The world’s first production line for HTGR fuel elements started mass production on Monday at China North Nuclear Fuel, headquartered in Baotou in northern China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region, said the company.
The production of 200,000 spherical fuel elements shows that the fuel assembly line has transitioned from a pilot one into an industrial one, said Wang Shoujun, president of China National Nuclear Corporation, parent company of China North Nuclear Fuel.
“China is cementing its leading position as a manufacturer of HTGR fuel elements,” said Wang.
“The HTGR reactors, best known for their inherent safety, versatility and modular construction, are a good fit for economies participating in the Belt and Road Initiative with small and medium-sized power grids.”
CNNC has already signed memorandums of understanding with Saudi Arabia and the UAE in HTGR project cooperation, signaling that decades of research on the reactor have paid off, he said.
With government support for overseas expansion, including beneficial terms in getting financing from key financial institutions, many power companies are encour-
China’s installed nuclear capacity by 2020
aged to acquire power assets or export their technology and expertise overseas, said Joseph Jacobelli, a senior analyst of Asian utilities and infrastructure at Bloomberg Intelligence.
The Institute for Nuclear and New Energy Technology at Tsinghua University has conducted research on HTGR fuel element technology over the past three decades, starting with a trial production line with an annual capacity of 100,000 spherical fuel elements.
Based on that technology, the production line will have an annual capacity of 300,000 spherical fuel elements, and the production line will provide fuel for the demonstration HTGR reac-