The GRSR process reviews the completely- or partially-developed safety cases of new reactor designs that are not yet in the licensing stage. It involves an international team of experts evaluating design safety case claims against selected and applicable IAEA safety standards. China signed an agreement with the IAEA last December for a GRSR review of CNNC’s ACP1000 design.
CNNC has now announced that the design has successfully completed GRSR review. It is the first Chinese-designed reactor to have undergone review by the IAEA.
CNNC’s assistant president Li Xiaoming told the China Daily newspaper that the IAEA’s review of the ACP1000 reached three main conclusions. Firstly, the technology is recognized to be fully compliant with all the safety standards set by the IAEA and that it is suitable to be sold outside of China. Secondly, the ACP1000 design is evolutionary, meaning it is constantly evolving by adding the latest and best technology to existing technology. Thirdly, the design combines passive and active technology, ensuring better safety.
The ACP1000 is derived from the 900 MWe PWRs that China imported from France in the 1990s. The first two ACP1000 units had been planned for units 5 and 6 of the Fuqing nuclear power plant in Fujian province.
In 2012, central planners in Beijing directed CNNC and the other large nuclear builder and operator, China General Nuclear (CGN), to ‘rationalise’ their reactor programs. This meant CNNC’s ACP1000 and CGN’s ACPR1000 were ‘merged’ into one standardised design – the Hualong One.
In fact, each company has its own supply chain and their versions of Hualong One will differ slightly (units built by CGN will use some features from the ACPR1000) but the design is considered to be standardised. It is set for wide deployment in China as well as export to other countries. Some 85% of its components will be made domestically.
Li told the China Daily, “Exporting nuclear technology is of strategic importance to China, and it creates more demand for China’s own domestic nuclear supply chain. We look forward to exporting Chinese nuclear technology globally in the near future.”
However, he noted that international use of the ACP1000 is still dependent on meeting country-specific standards and requirements, but passing the IAEA safety review will make this process easier.