China’s nuclear industry shifts from military to civilian use over the last 40 years
The year 2018 marks the 63rd anniversary of China’s nuclear industry, which began in January 1955, when late leader Mao Zedong announced the Central Government’s decision to develop atomic energy as a form of self-defense. In the last 40 years, the reform and opening-up policy was not only carried out in the economic sector, but also in this critical industry.
“China’s nuclear practitioners, riding the wave of reform and opening up, renovated the industry and shifted it to dual-use technology that has both civilian and military applications,” said Yu Jianfeng, President of China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC), which built the first nuclear plant on the Chinese mainland, at a press conference on the company’s development in the past four decades on November 15 in Beijing.
In 1958, the China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIAE), China’s largest nuclear research arm, built the first experimental heavy water reactor and the first cyclotron, also known as the First Reactor and First Cyclotron (FRFC). “The FRFC played a crucial role in the invention of China’s first atomic and hydrogen bombs and nuclear-powered submarine,” Yu said.
“The FRFC ushered in an era of atomic energy in China, driving its nuclear sector and leaving a splendid chapter in the history of China’s nuclear technology development,” said Wan Gang, head of CIAE, at the opening ceremony of an international forum on science and technology cooperation in Beijing on August 30.
More than 200 Chinese and foreign experts—including Mikhail Chudakov, Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and senior executive with the China Atomic Energy Authority and Cnnc—took part in the forum to exchange views on nuclear technology innovation.
According to Wan, the reactor and cyclotron have been in operation for 49 and 26 years, respectively, resulting in more than
The reactor dome of the No. 6 nuclear power unit is installed on March 21 in southeast China’s Fujian Province. Built by China National Nuclear Corp., it is China’s second nuclear power unit using the Hualong One technology