Tech Breakdown: Hualong One nuclear reactor helps China meet carbon goals
By Guo Meiping

China's second nuclear power generator to use Hualong One technology launched commercial operations last Friday, marking another milestone in the commercialization of China's home-grown nuclear technology and one more step toward a low-carbon future.

Hualong One is one of the world's most advanced nuclear power reactor designs. Each Hualong One nuclear generator has an installed capacity of 1.16 million kilowatts and is expected to generate about 10 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity every year, enough to meet the power demand of 1 million people.

The technology has more than 700 patents and 120 software copyrights, and all of its 411 core parts were designed and manufactured domestically. Its designed lifespan is 60 years and it has 177 reactor cores, to be replaced every 18 months.

With both active and passive safety features and a double-layer safety shell, the technology meets the highest international safety standards for nuclear power plants.

According to the International Energy Agency, the use of nuclear power over the past 50 years has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by over 60 gigatonnes – nearly two years' worth of global energy-related emissions.

The Hualong One nuclear power reactor design is central to China's goals of hitting carbon peak by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060.

Compared with coal-fired generators, the electricity generated by a Hualong One unit is equivalent to reducing standard coal consumption by 3.12 million tonnes and carbon dioxide emissions by 8.16 million tonnes annually, as well as being equal to planting over 70 million trees per year.

China's two Hualong One units presently in commercial operation are units 5 and 6 of the Fuqing nuclear power plant in southeast Fujian Province, which both entered service after January 2021.

The Hualong One has also gained global recognition, with two units at Pakistan's Karachi Nuclear Power Plant currently running on the technology. Hualong One is also qualified for use in the UK in February, making it more competitive on the global stage.

With Hualong One online, China is now at the global forefront of third-generation nuclear technology.

Videographer: Yu Yang

Video editor: Zhang Rongyi

Cover image: Xing Cheng

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