China delays purchase of Russian fast neutron reactors

A representative of the China Institute of Atomic Energy was quoted as saying that China will postpone purchase of Russian BN-800 fast neutron reactors because of the disagreement over the price of the technology transfer and some "political reasons."

The initial contract to build two BN-800 class reactors in China was signed by Atomstroyexport, China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIAE) and China Nuclear Energy Industry Corporation┬╗ (CNEIC) in October 2009. The agreement was part of China's plan to build a series of fast reactors. The first reactor of this series, China Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR), achieved criticality in July 2010 and was connected to the grid in July 2011. The reactor was reportedly build with Russia's assistance.

Construction of the first BN-800 type reactor was initially expected to begin in August 2011, but then moved to 2013 as Russia and China failed to reach an intergovernmental agreement that would regulate the issues of technology transfer. Rosatom expressed hope that the agreement could still be reached in 2012. The construction at the Sanmen Nuclear Power plant site, however, will not start in 2013, so the first reactor will not be ready before 2020.

CIAE representative was quoted as saying that in 2017 China might start construction of a fast reactor that would use indigenous technology. However, some equipment would still have to be imported.