16 January 2008 — Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) and the Nuclear Power Institute of China (NPIC) have signed an agreement to work on developing low uranium consumption Candu technologies in China.
Cooperative research and development is to include work on advanced nuclear fuel cycle technologies such as recycling uranium from used fuel from pressurized water reactors (PWRs) and Generation IV systems.
The Canadian-developed Candu reactor – derived from CANada Deuterium Uranium – is generically a pressurized water reactor. However, unlike other PWRs, it uses unenriched uranium as a fuel and heavy water under pressure as a coolant, as well as using heavy water as a moderator. Candus, as well as the engineering expertise to build and operate them, have been exported to China, South Korea, Romania, India, Pakistan and Argentina.
CNNC and AECL built two Candu reactors at the Qinshan Phase III power plant (also known as Qinshan units 4 and 5). The units were built on a turnkey basis, and started up in 2002 and 2003 respectively.