SNC-Lavalin to conduct pre-project work for Chinese AHWR plant

03 December 2019

Candu Energy Inc - a subsidiary of Canada's SNC-Lavalin - has been awarded a contract by China National Nuclear Power Co Ltd (CNNP) for pre-project work for a proposed two-unit Advanced Heavy Water Reactor (AHWR) plant in China. The work relates to planning and licensing in preparation for the project, construction of which is expected to start in or around 2021.

The signing of the contract (Image: SNC-Lavalin)

The AHWR is described as a 700 MWe reactor that builds on the Canadian Candu pressurised heavy water reactor (PHWR) design. A number of evolutionary adaptations ensure its compliance with the latest international safety standards and Generation III requirements. This includes new and enhanced active and passive safety systems and standardised design for reduced maintenance and capital costs.

Under the contract, SNC-Lavalin will provide the top-level licensing basis documents to outline the licensing process along with the regulatory and safety requirements applicable to the design, analysis, construction, commissioning and operation of the AHWR. SNC-Lavalin - the exclusive licensee of Candu technology from Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) - will prepare safety design guides (SDGs) and a description and assessment of the agreed-to safety-related design changes. It will also review SDGs prepared by partner agencies involved.

Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research & Design Institute serves as general design institute of the project, as well as technical manager for this contract to review and accept SNC-Lavalin's deliverables on behalf of CNNP. China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation has been designated by CNNP as its foreign trade agent for this contract.

"SNC-Lavalin is proud to continue its long Candu legacy in China and looks forward to working with China National Nuclear Power and all its partners towards its AHWR goal," said Sandy Taylor, president of SNC-Lavalin's nuclear business group. "Our longstanding prosperous partnership and shared value for high-level safety design standards and protocols will contribute to the overall project success and support for nuclear power's beneficial clean, low-carbon electricity."

In September 2016, an agreement in principle to form a new joint venture to develop, market and construct the Advanced Fuel Candu Reactor (AFCR) was signed by SNC-Lavalin, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and Shanghai Electric. The joint venture company was expected to be registered in mid-2017. The AFCR was described as "a 700 MW Class Generation III reactor based on the highly successful Candu 6 and Enhanced Candu 6 (EC6) reactors". It features a heavy-water moderator and heavy-water coolant in a pressure tube design and can use both recycled uranium and thorium as fuel.

Units 1 and 2 of the Qinshan Phase III nuclear power plant in China - majority owned by CNNP - use the Candu 6 PHWR technology, with AECL being the main contractor of the project on a turnkey basis. Construction began in 1997 and unit 1 started up in September 2002 and unit 2 in April 2003.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News