China Gives Operating License to First Homegrown Nuclear Reactor

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China Gives Operating License to First Homegrown Nuclear Reactor

(Bloomberg) -- China’s homegrown nuclear technology took a significant step forward after the first operating license was issued to a Hualong One reactor.

Unit 5 at China National Nuclear Corp.’s Fuqing power station received the license, which allows it to begin loading fuel, the Ministry of Ecology & Environment, said in a statement Friday.

The development of Hualong One reactor technology is being closely watched in the battle for the nation’s next-generation nuclear power systems. Its success could mean a nuclear revival in China that would have little to do with western developers including Westinghouse Electric Co. from the U.S. and France’s Electricite de France SA (PA: EDF ).

China had almost 49 gigawatts of nuclear power installed as of 2019 and should get into the mid-fifties this year. GlobalData Plc predicts it will pass France as the world’s No. 2 nuclear generator in 2022 and claim the top spot from the U.S. four years after that.

Beijing gave the green light to four Hualong One reactors last year in a clear sign of support, ending a three-year freeze on new approvals caused by the government’s consideration of different technologies and the ongoing trade dispute with the U.S. Two more Hualong One reactors were approved last week.

The country started up the world’s first next-generation reactors in 2018, including four AP1000 units designed by Westinghouse as well as a project using EDF’s EPR technology.

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