(1)Nuclear power plant
The nuclear power plant refers to a generating station that generates electricity on a large scale by means of nuclear power. As is typical in conventional thermal power plants, nuclear power plants use steam to drive turbines, which further actuate dynamos to generate electricity. Their main difference lies in the steam supply system. The steam in thermal power plants is generated by the chemical energy released by fossil fuels consumption (coal, petroleum and natural gas) while the steam in nuclear power plants is produced by the nuclear energy released by nuclear fission of reactor fuels. The equipment for fission is called as a reactor, including pressurized water reactors, heavy water reactors, boiling-water reactors, high temperature gas cooled reactors, sodium cooled fast reactors and etc. The pressurized water reactors are the most widely built in the world.
(2)Technological Development of Nuclear Power Plant
①The Generation Ⅰ Nuclear Power Plants
Nuclear Power Plants were initially developed and established in the 1950s. In 1954, the experimental nuclear power station with a power capacity of 5,000 kilowatts was established by the former Soviet Union. In 1957, the prototype nuclear power plant, shipping port, was constructed with a power capacity of 90,000 kilowatts. All of these achievements have served as the evidence for the technical feasibility of nuclear-energy-based electricity generation. Internationally, the experimental and prototype nuclear power units are categorized as the first generation nuclear power units.
②The Generation Ⅱ Nuclear Power Plants
In the late 1960s, on the basis of experimental and prototype nuclear power units, other units with a capacity of 300,000 kilowatts such as pressurized water reactors, boiling-water reactors, heavy water reactors and RBMK were built up in succession, which further proves the technical feasibility of nuclear power generation and the efficiency of it. In the 1970s, the nuclear power generation developed dramatically due to the energy crisis as a result of rise in petroleum price. A majority of the over 400 nuclear power units now in operation worldwide were built up during this period and are thus named as the second generation nuclear power units.
③The Generation Ⅲ Nuclear Power Plants
Back in the 1990s, in a bid to deal with the negative impacts brought by Three Mile Island and Chernobyl Nuclear Power accidents, all forces in the global nuclear power industry were gathered to conduct researches centering on the prevention and mitigation of serious accidents. In such a context, utility requirements documents for light water reactors were successively issued both in America and Europe, which were utility requirements document (URD) and European utility requirements document (EUR). These documents provide more particular requirements in terms of improving the prevention and mitigation of serious accidents, safety and human factors engineering. Those plants which met the requirements of URD and EUR are internationally hailed as the third generation nuclear power units.
In 2006, the State Council of China incorporated large pressurized water reactors and high temperature gas cooled reactors plants into the state-level special projects of technology. Research staff from hundreds of enterprises worked together and succeeded in addressing a bunch of world-class challenges related to the key equipments and materials of nuclear power. Besides, China was able to acquire world-class advanced nuclear power technologies, and cultivate an enormous quantity of outstanding talents in the fields of R&D, design, construction, operation and equipment manufacturing. Consequently, a historic leap was accomplished from the second generation nuclear power to the third generation and even to more advanced technologies in China.
Independent Intellectual Property Right Technology of China: Hualong One
China’s Hualong One unit adopts ACP1000 technology, 177 reactor core and CF nuclear fuels independently developed by China National Nuclear Corporation. Hualong One unit boasts two prominent merits: First, it meets the new targets and requirements of safety as proposed by State Bureau of Nuclear Safety in the wake of Fukushima nuclear accident, which are the highest international requirements; second, the technology of Hualong One have already been tested by the practice, thus reducing the risks in terms of time limit and quality of nuclear power construction.
On May 7, 2015, the first reactor project of Hualong One was officially launched in the Fuqing nuclear unit No.5, which indicates that the third generation IPR nuclear power brand of China was created. Following America, France, Russia, China has become the fourth country that owns the third generation independently-developed nuclear power technology and is thus qualified to compete with other developed countries in the global market of the third generation nuclear power, which is a sign of China’s evolution into a nuclear power from a major nuclear nation.
In September, 2016, China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) signed a package of cooperation agreements on the new nuclear power projects of UK with EDF Energy and the UK government. According to the agreement, CGN’s participation investments in the UK Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C were confirmed and so did CGN’ s investment holding in the Bradwell B. The Bradwell B project will adopt the technology of Hualong One and take the Port of Fangcheng unit No.3 as the referential plant. It is for the first time that China’s own technology of nuclear power made its way into the developed market. At present, the constructions of four nuclear power units of Hualong One have already been started in Pakistan and Fujian in China and are all running smoothly.
④The Generation IV Nuclear Power Plant
In January, 2000, in response to the advocacy of the US Department of Energy, ten countries,including America, the UK, Switzerland, South Africa, Japan, France, Canada, Brazil, Korea and Argentina, with the intention to develop nuclear power, jointly set up the Generation IV Nuclear Energy International Forum (GIF) and signed a contract in July, 2001 for the cooperative researches on the development of the generation IV nuclear power technology.
⑤Global Cooperation of China Nuclear Power
After decades, not only can China be able to provide top-notch nuclear power generation technologies to nations around the world, but also can offer premium services in such fields as high-end equipment manufacturing, power plant construction，technical support of operation, and also in some fiercely competitive fields like financing. Through bilateral and multilateral mechanism, China will continue to promote the exchange with other nations, share advanced technologies and successful cases of China’s nuclear power progress. Also, China will work together with other nations to press ahead with the peaceful use of nuclear power in an attempt to push forward human progress and prosperity.
On January, 2016, China and Saudi Arabia signed The Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation of Construction of a High-temperature Gas-cooled Reactor.
On May 31, 2016, the construction of Unit No.3 of Karachi Program in Pakistan adopted Hualong One technology was officially started its construction.
On September 29, 2016, China General Nuclear Power Corporation signed a package of cooperation agreements with EDF Energy on the UK nuclear power projects. Besides, CGN signed government agreements on the guarantee of revenues and investments of Hinkley Point Project, marking a substantial starting point of the project.
On November 8, 2016, China and Russia jointly issued a Joint Declaration of Heads of States on Deepening the Strategic Cooperation of Two Countries in the Field of Nuclear Power.
On December 28, 2016, as the aid project of China National Nuclear Corporation in Pakistan, the Chasma 3 was officially put into commercial operation.
On January, 2017, Hualong One technology officially filed for UK Generic Design Assessment (GDA).
On March 29, 2017, China and Thailand signed an Agreement on the Cooperation between the Government of PRC and the Government of Kingdom of Thailand in the Peaceful Use of Nuclear Power.
3.Installed Capacity of Nuclear Power Stations
Global nuclear power generation increased by 1.3% in 2016, or 9.3 Million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe), marginally increasing its share of global energy from 4.4% to 4.5%.
China accounted for all of the net growth, expanding by 24.5% (9.6 Mtoe). This was the fastest growth in absolute terms in China’s history and similar to the growth seen in France’s rapid expansion in the mid-1980s. Generation in Japan and Belgium also grew strongly, while France saw a sharp decline (-8.1%, -7.7 Mtoe).