China started operation of its first CFR-600 breeder reactor

Hui Zhang

20231215-CFR-600.jpgAccording to Chinese sources, China started up its first CFR-600 breeder reactor, running it at low power as of mid-2023. As of October 2023, the reactor had not yet been connected to the grid. The exact timeline for when it might begin generating electricity is unknown.

The reactor is the first of the two breeder reactors of this type built at Xiapu, Fujian province. The image above shows the reactor site (26.803567° 120.154710°) as of 23 December 2022.

Construction of the first unit began in 2017. At the time it was expected to begin operations in 2023, so the project is progressing according to the original plan. The initial core of the reactor is loaded with HEU fuel supplied by Russia. The first batch of fuel was delivered in 2022.

Construction of a second CFR-600 reactor at the same site started in 2020. This unit is expected to become operational in 2026.