At the end of 2011, the National Energy Administration (NEA) officially released the 12th Five-Year Plan for Energy Technology (2011-2015). The plan, lasting for two and a half years, is the first energy technology plan in Chinese history. It is of great significance to the development of Chinese energy. The future development objectives and main missions of nuclear power are also mentioned in this plan.
(1) Objectives in 2015
Digest and absorb third-generation nuclear power plant (NPP) technology to enable reactors and related designs and key manufacturing technologies to take shape with China’s own intellectual property rights; make breakthroughs in respects of the commercial operation of high-temperature gas-cooled reactors; demonstrate a large advanced pressurized water reactor (PWR); fast reactor; the high-performance fuel element and the MOX fuel element; as well as key reprocessing technologies in commercial operation.
(2) Objectives in 2020
Construct large advanced PWR power plant under independent intellectual property rights.
Nuclear energy provides intensive energy at low cost with a low emission of greenhouse gas. Wind energy, solar energy, biomass energy and ocean energy have huge reserves. Hence, to develop these is important to optimize the Chinese energy structure and promote the sustainable development of energy. For nuclear power, the main tasks are as follows:
1. Advanced nuclear power
Conduct research on third-generation PWR technology, and continue to improve the safety and economy of operational and under-construction NPPs; proceed the experimental fast reactor and conduct research on fast reactor technology; conduct research on 200MW high-temperature gas-cooled reactor technology; conduct R&D on multi-use small modular reactors and fusion reactor technologies; conduct research on nuclear fuel elements, processing of spent fuel and high-level waste disposal.
2. Advanced nuclear fuel element technology
Targets: Master the independent design and manufacturing technology of advanced PWR nuclear fuel assemblies, and the critical process and equipment design & manufacturing technology of fast reactors and PWR MOX fuel elements.
Research contents: Performance analysis and assessment technology of fuel rods, fuel assemblies and related sub-assemblies; high-performance zirconium alloy and cladding tube manufacturing technologies; rack design and manufacturing technology as well as detachable top nozzle devices; flexible technology to make UO2 fuel with deep depletion and a long period; design of fast reactor and PWR MOX fuel reactor, element and assembly design, manufacturing process, ex-core performance detection; in-core radiation test and other key technologies.
3. Spent fuel reprocessing technology
Targets: Master key technologies of spent fuel reprocessing, key equipment, automation control, plant and related design; and be capable of constructing spent fuel reprocessing plants.
Research contents: spent fuel storage; spent fuel reprocessing process; reprocessing plant’s deployment and equipment’s critical safety design methods; uranium and plutonium co-decontamination process; plutonium purification, high-level waste separation process; dissolution technology; thermal process flow experiment; dry reprocessing technology; monitoring technology for reprocessing’s criticality analysis; reprocessing plant’s design technology; spent fuel wet preservation/dry unloading process; safety disposal technology for high-level waste, separation and transmutation technology and long-term storage; recovering uranium from PWR to be used as heavy water reactor fuel, etc.
4. PWR key equipment
Targets: Fully master the manufacturing technology of operational and under-construction NPP equipment, and localize 80% of large advanced PWR NPPs.
Research contents: localization of reactor pressure vessels, reactor internals, integrated head package, main pump, main pipe, steam generator, steel containment, squib valve, half-speed turbine; localization of large nuclear forging, nuclear pipe and sheet material; localization of nuclear pump, valve, digital instrument control systems and other key equipment and materials.
5. Key equipment of demo fast reactor
Targets: Master design and manufacturing technology of demo fast reactor’s key equipment and realize the localization of key equipment and materials.
Research contents: container, reactor internals, rotating shield plug, sodium circulation pump, control rod drive mechanism, refueling system, sodium-water steam generator, sodium-sodium heat exchanger, large sodium valve, large cold trap, large electronic pump; fast reactor’s subcritical turbine unit; R&D of special structural material and pipeline; safety related instruments, etc.
6. Key equipment for spent fuel reprocessing
Targets: Master the design and manufacturing technology of key equipment used in spent fuel reprocessing and enable construction of spent fuel reprocessing plants.
Research contents: horizontal cutting machine; continuous dissolver; settling centrifugal machine; pulse extraction column, centrifugal extractor, pump mixer settler; flow conveying equipment; special metering pump, special valve equipment and system; overhaul robot for highly radioactive environments; spent fuel shipping flask; equipment and tools exclusive for spent fuel shipping flask.
7. Advanced reactor R&D platform
Targets: Establish a national nuclear energy development strategy research and consulting center, advanced nuclear reactor R&D center and demo advanced reactor construction technology supporting center; master advanced reactor technology and form China’s nuclear equipment manufacturing technology R&D base and an advanced fuel circulation system technology R&D center.
Research contents: passive safety system’s test verification platform; new reactor R&D design platform; non-radioactive test research platform; reactor material research platform; radioactive test research platform; transformation of core assembly and ex-core inspection loop; sodium technology’s research facility; comprehensive experiment facility for removing after-heat in reactors and cores; flow blocking experiment facility for fuel assemblies; operational support center and maintenance laboratory; large core’s zero energy simulation facility.
8. R&D platform for nuclear power plant instruments and I&C systems
Targets: upgrade China’s independent R&D ability in nuclear instrument and instrument control (I&C), raise the localization of instrument control products and systems; digest and absorb advanced international I&C technology, master NPP’s full-scope digital instrument control technology, break through control technology for nuclear safety instruments; establish an advanced international and Chinese top-level R&D and test center for nuclear instruments and instrument control systems.
Research contents: Generic technology of NPP instruments and control systems; key technology of NPP instruments; reference test, aging test, anti-seismic test, accident and post-accident assumption test; identification and confirmation of nuclear instruments and control systems’ safety software; radioactive and information exchange platform for NPP instruments and control systems; R&D of sampling machine for 1000MW PWR NPP’s control and protection system; R&D of sampling machine for high-temperature and gas-cooled reactors’ control and protection systems; development of imaging nuclear safety software integration.
9. Advanced PWR technology
Targets: Solidify and improve the safety of operational and under-construction PWR technology; absorb and digest AP1000 technology; develop the Gen 3 PWR technology with independent intellectual property rights.
Research contents: Improvement and optimization of designs for reactor cores and passive safety systems; advanced PWR standard designs; reactor protection technology; reactor shielding technology; physics and thermal-technical analyzing technology and software development for reactors; safety analysis and verification technology for reactors; digital instrument control systems; combined moisture separation technology, fluid-solid coupling technology for reactors; nuclear equipment verification methods; prevention and remission technology for severe accidents; guidelines for dealing with severe accidents; analysis of severe accidents; life management and detection technology for pressure vessels; comprehensive performance test and verification for passive reactor coolant systems and passive containment coolant systems; safe power supplies, nuclear emergency treatment and environmental protection, etc.
10. High-temperature gas-cooled reactor technology (HTGR)
Targets: Implement the independent design, construct and operate HTGR; master leading application technology; maintain China’s leading position in worldwide HTGR technology field.
Research contents: Design and fabrication technology for key equipment; safety specialty and performance of key equipment; analysis software and simulation technology; post-radiation detection technology for nuclear fuels; advanced fuel manufacturing technology; the ultra-high-temperature gas cooled reactor; power generation technology for gas turbines; high-temperature hydrogen manufacturing technology.
11. Fast reactor technology
Targets: Provide technical support for further development of the large advanced fast reactor through studying fast reactor’s key technologies in terms of design, construction, debugging and operation.
Research contents: Related laws, standards and regulations; design of software development; design and verification of reactors, reactor assemblies, passive shutdown systems, digital instrument control systems, radioactive sodium processing and prevention of sodium fires; nuclear and radiation safety technology; construction, debugging and operation technologies, and so on.
12. Small modular reactor technology (SMR)
Targets: Master the key SMR technology and be able to construct a demo project.