After successfully developing electrical power for the domestic market for 25 years, the Chinese nuclear industry’s flagship technology now is available abroad for the first time. Having signed nuclear deals for projects in the United Kingdom, Argentina, Pakistan and Iran, two major Chinese state-owned enterprises formed Hualong International to launch formally the Hualong One third-generation nuclear-reactor brand.
Negotiating exports with nearly 20 countries now, China is the eighth exporter of nuclear power plants and supplier of peaceful nuclear energy globally, and could be operating the highest number of nuclear projects by 2030.
Constructed outside China for the first time, two Hualong One nuclear reactors are being installed in the Pakistani port city of Karachi. Boasting the Chinese nuclear industry’s flagship technology, the construction model complements the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) vision for countries participating in the project. Perfecting the new design, China employed state-of-the-art technology for peaceful nuclear requirements badly needed for solving Pakistan’s dire energy crisis. The project is costing US$10 billion and will be completed within a decade. The innovative design employed in these plants is the company’s first 1,100-megawatt reactor overseas.
Developed by China National Nuclear Power, a subsidiary of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), Hualong Ones are indigenously designed third-generation reactors with the advanced technology and improvements of the second generation. There are 14 such reactors under construction, of which two are being installed at Karachi while the rest will be used in China.
Furnishing details, CNNC spokesman Pan Jianming stated that the second Karachi nuclear-power project was underway by now. The first was the K2 plant under construction since August last year, while the second is K3. Announcing its specifications at a forum in Fuqing (where the pilot project is based), he said: “Hualong One was developed based on very mature technologies, and the project is going very smoothly. It will help ease power shortages in the Karachi region after completion.” The project has also passed all pressure tests satisfactorily.
Safety is the first priority, and Karachi plants K2 and K3 have been planned for a height of 12 meters above sea level, keeping in mind that the greatest tsunami-alert level for Karachi is 2.5 meters. According to the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, the projects will also be able to withstand an air crash, earthquakes and other natural disasters.
Early this year, Pakistan’s request for the application of safeguards at the K-2 and K-3 nuclear power plants was approved by the board of directors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Capacity-wise, pressurized water reactors K2 and K3 have installed capacity of 1,100MW each.
Basically, Pakistan had an insufficient 1,040MW-capacity civil nuclear program, and additional nuclear power generation became imperative from a strategic point of view as well as for overcoming its energy crisis. Having an excellent IAEA-endorsed record of security in operating nuclear power plants since 1972, Pakistan went ahead with bolstering its civilian nuclear energy requirements, and the previous Chashma 1 and 2 projects were also built with Beijing’s assistance, out of six planned reactors. The third unit is also operational.
Nuclear energy is the safest and most reliable means of power generation for a developing country like Pakistan as it provides an enormous supply of electricity with a small amount of uranium. However, such projects are absolutely civil in nature, this aspect having been stated by the Chinese Foreign Ministry as well: “China has stated on many occasions that the cooperation between China and Pakistan in the civil nuclear energy sector is completely for peaceful purpose.”
Potentially a complicated process, installation of the containment dome of the demonstration nuclear project using the third-generation reactor was recently completed in Fujian province. The hemispherical dome weighing 340 tonnes and measuring 46.8 meters in diameter is put in place by a crane.
Explaining the procedure, Yu Peigen, the deputy general manager of CNNC, said: “The dome will be used for protection against nuclear accidents under extreme conditions. The installation marks the completion of construction work on the pilot project and the beginning of the assembly stage.”
Successful completion of this stage perfects and finalizes the development process of China’s third-generation reactor design, making it a reliable brand for use in Belt and Road countries.
Termed the “business card of China”, the innovative, advanced reactor is called the Chinese nuclear power industry’s “flagship brand” as it identifies with the BRI mega-project on an international level. After the landmark achievement of successful installation of the containment dome, Premier Li Keqiang stressed the importance of quality and safety regarding “China’s first demonstration nuclear power project using Hualong One technology”. He stated that “absolute safety” must be guaranteed in nuclear-power construction, operation and management.
After successful completion of the Karachi projects, the next countries in line for construction of Hualong One reactors are Argentina and Britain.
While of doubtful uses to old mature economies, both the high speed railway and cheap nuclear power are what is needed for speedy growth in young developing countries.
If by definitiion of mature country, you mean with sufficient and reliable power, you would have to exclude many countries in Asia & Africa. I wont even talk about central or south asia. Even now in Philippines, IndoChina and parts of Malaysia, reliable electricity is a dream. Even some of the cities.
Its an unspoken rule that you dont bomb nuclear reactors. Apart from the possibility of fallout going to your country. The other side can do the same thing to your nuclear reactors. The worry is more of terrorists blowing it up.
Ready glad to read the the cooperation between countries is not only of military. Also, a side note on this article; China expansion of its nuclear capabilities is in some part thanks to the 123 Peaceful Agreements with US. US and China extended the 123 Agreement with until 2045.
I wonder if President Donald Trump have any idea of the previous signed agreements with China; when he was trolling China during his campaign as being "currency manipulator," wonder if Trump had any idea of the great economic partner China is. US sell nuclear parts and materials for China nuclear development, but another questions I ask myself: Who is providing the uranium? Because last time I check Cameco from Canada had the monopoly of it.
Good for Pakistan to keep its technological advancement even if it has to start using foreign technology to bring cleaner energy to its people.
Abhijit, You got a mouth full from Jo Snow. You think you can fool the world?
Abhijit, I am reading 1971 from Indians for a long long time. Let me tell you even super power could not win 1971 war against the India you know what I mean.
Jo Snow I think I made it clear that while its important to check the height of tsunami waves its also important to note that India & Pakistan is also near to a war situation all the time because of Pakistani sponsored terrorism (BTW that affects Afghnistan & Iran too). Pakistan also uses the word "nuke India" in every verbal duel. Please note India has a "No first use" policy on nukes..but if Pakistan uses even a tactical nuke all bets are off.. so is it prudent to build a nuclear reactor 100 kms away from Indian border.. that was the submission.. but ofcourse No Profile Pic guys like you are from a "paid world".. so you do your job.. 😉
Mohammed Ashraf Really not much has changed – Pakistan was a "failed state" then – its still is a "failed state" now.. then it had US as its master.. now China. Except having nukes – what really has changed on ground? Pakistan imports everything – from paper clips to nuke plants. 🙂 Good Day.
It seems that with all these Chinese CPEC aid , Pakistan may turn out to be the economic tiger of S. Asia within a decade. It wifi end up in win-win relationship between China and Pakistan. So better wait and see!
Abhijit Gupta You have hit the bees’s nest. You don’t have anything to prove one way or the other. It is better to be quite. It is international and intellectual rights of two countries to build whatever they want to. You should have no concern. You may raise one issue, if the Karachi plant fails and somthing like Fukushima or Chernobyl happens then India gets affected. However, there is IAEA to deal with such matters and I am sure their approval would be needed to operate such nuclear plants. In the nuclear world you have to help your enemies where nuclear safety is concerned to make sure not a single life is lost.
I am surprised that China is being considered expert in civilian Nuclear Power. Only recently (in the past eight to ten years) they were importing safe nuclear power technology from the USA. Westinghouse Electric Co as a technology transfer program was building 4 AP1000, Advanced Nuclear Power plant units in China. Chinese are hard working people keen on learning new technology. It is hard to understand why US companies are not approaching and getting contracts from Pakistan. They with the help of local Pakistani engineers can build safe Nuclear Power plants at a cheaper rate than the Chinese. In the process they can transfer Nuclear Power technology to Pakistani engineers just like the Chinese are doing or hopefully doing in transfer of technology they learned from US companies like Westinghouse.
If Westinghouse can build reactors more cheaply than China, it would not have filed for bankruptcy now. Put o?n your spectacles.
"Developed by China National Nuclear Power, a subsidiary of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), Hualong Ones are indigenously designed third-generation reactors with the advanced technology and improvements of the second generation."
The safer Hualong One technology has been adopted by UK!
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