China’s administrations of energy, standardization and nuclear safety jointly launched an action plan for a major nuclear power standardization demonstration project at a meeting held on April 13.
The new demonstration project will be based on HPR1000 technology, with the aim to develop an independent, full lifecycle system of pressurized water reactor (PWR) standards and improve existing standards to better meet the needs of domestic and overseas construction demands for HPR1000 reactors.
The meeting brought together representatives from the energy, standardization and nuclear safety administrations, the China National Nuclear Corp, the China Nuclear Engineering and Construction Corp, the China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN) and the Shanghai Electric Group Co.
China has released 743 nuclear power standards, paving the way for developing a well-structured comprehensive nuclear energy system. All specialized fields have established key or priority standards at international levels. Key technological standards continue to catch up with international counterparts, providing strong support for China’s nuclear power development.
Compared with construction needs, China’s industry standardization still lags behind. The majority fall behind the world’s advanced standards, signaling significant improvements need to be made. The co-existence of different reactor types and technologies has also brought difficulties in developing uniform self-owned standards.
The new action plan covers many aspects, including measures to further optimize existing standards, long-term research and the application of nuclear power standards. Efforts will be made to promote the integration of Chinese standards with international ones. China will actively participate in the development of ISO, IEC and other international standards while establishing long-term cooperative relationships with industry leading standardization organizations, such as the US and France, and continue to target potential countries interested in Chinese technology.
Standards ‘going global’
According to the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) for energy development, China’s installed in-service nuclear power capacity will reach 58GW by 2020. With the independent development of the HPR1000 and CAP1400 reactors, the nuclear power sector has achieved its goal to “go global”. Under such a backdrop, the nuclear power industry is in urgent need of standardizations to embrace unprecedented opportunities.
The next five years will be a key window for China to establish a complete, independent and advanced system of standards that will guide the industry to grow stronger.
Safety is the lifeline of nuclear power. Industry standards, together with laws and regulations on nuclear safety, constitute the essential foundation for ensuring nuclear safety. A complete set of standards are needed to guide the research, development, design, construction and operation of nuclear power, and will also facilitate scaled development and mass construction to reduce costs, improve competitiveness and increase economic benefits.
In the context of globalization, standards have become an important means of setting up non-tariff barriers. Judging from the nuclear power standards of the US, France and others, a country’s nuclear power standards are closely related to its industrial and technological capabilities to make best use of advantages and boost the growth of nuclear power-related industries. As one of the world’s major nuclear power equipment manufacturers, China should develop its own technological standards compatible with its international counterparts and set up mechanisms that will integrate supporting industries and facilitate the application and industrialization of technological research findings.
The HPR1000 is based on up-to-date international technological and industrial achievements, and is the result of China’s own technology and experience over the past three decades.
According to generic standards of the current system, a majority may be adopted directly into the new system after passing applicability analysis and verification. As for brand-new technologically innovative designs, new standards should be developed to close the gap.
The Fuqing and Fangchenggang nuclear power plants will step up coordination with the HPR1000 project. Thorough analysis and verification must be conducted to find out how well existing standards can be applied to HPR1000 reactors, and the current system must be improved on the basis of engineering feedback. It will lay a solid foundation for future HPR1000 projects both at home and abroad to adopt Chinese standards.
In view of the co-existence of different reactor types and technologies in China’s nuclear power industry, efforts should be made to ensure standards are universal and widely applicable to further enrich and improve the country’s PWR reactor standards.
Through implementing the action plan, China will be able to develop its own world-class nuclear power standards, increase its nuclear power industry’s international influence and shape its own brands, which will provide strong support for the safe and efficient growth of the industry and facilitate its development overseas.