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China's first Hualong One nuclear reactor begins commercial operation

China's first nuclear power unit using Hualong One technology, a domestically developed third-generation reactor design, has started commercial operation on Saturday, according to a statement released by the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).

The commercial operation of the reactor in Fuqing, southeast China's Fujian Province signified that China has become the fourth country to master independent third-generation nuclear power technology after the U.S., France and Russia, CNNC said.

The Hualong One technology, jointly developed by CNNC and China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN), has more than 700 patents and 120 software copyrights.

Eighty-eight percent of its equipment was made domestically, including all core equipment, suggesting mass production capability, said CNNC.

"Hualong One's core components have been granted complete independent intellectual property rights, including the reactor's pressure vessel, vapor generator, voltage stabilizer and main pipes," said Xing Ji, chief designer of the Hualong One reactor.

The Fuqing reactor has a designed lifespan of 60 years. There are 177 reactor cores functioning for 18 months until the next refueling.

Each unit has a 1.16-million-kilowatt generating capacity for about 10 billion kilowatts hour of electricity per year, meeting the annual demand of a medium-level developed country with a population of one million. It's estimated that it can save 3.12 million tons of standard coal, cutting back 8.16 million tons of carbon dioxide every year.

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