Hanzhong Enrichment Facility

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Last Updated: September 29, 2011
Other Name: 中核陕西铀浓缩有限公司; CNNC Shaanxi Uranium Enrichment Co., Ltd.; Plant 405 (405厂); Hanzhun Enrichment Facility
Location: Hanzhong, Shaanxi Province
Subordinate To: China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC)
Size: Large facility in three phases
Facility Status: Operational

The Hanzhong Enrichment Facility in Shanxi province is China’s largest commercial uranium enrichment facility. In 1992, China and Russia signed a government-to-government agreement for the supply of gas centrifuge plants to produce low enriched uranium (LEU) for use in China’s civilian nuclear power industry.[1] Phases One and Two were located at Hanzhong: the first was completed in 1996 with a capacity of 200,000 SWU/year, and the second in 1998 with a capacity of 300,000 SWU/year.[2] After deciding to site the third phase in Lanzhou, China and Russia agreed in 2008 to construct a fourth phase with an additional 500,000 SWU/year at Hanzhong, for a total of 1 million SWU/year at the site.[3]

All three phases at Hanzhong rely primarily on 6th generation Russian centrifuge technology.[4] The first two phases were placed under IAEA safeguards as part of a Tripartite Safeguards Agreement between the IAEA, Russia’s Minatom, and the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) in order to develop a method for safeguarding Russian centrifuge plants.[5]

[1] Oleg Bukharin, “Understanding Russia's Uranium Enrichment Complex,” Science and Global Security, 12:193–218, 2004, http://meaimyvik.info.
[2] M.D. Laughter, “Profile of World Uranium Enrichment Programs-2009,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, April 2009.
[3] “First Products Delivered at Phase Four of China's Enrichment Plant,” Nuclear.Ru, 4 April 2011, www.nuclear.ru.
[4] “China’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle,” World Nuclear Association, 28 July 2011, www.world-nuclear.org.
[5]  A. Panasyuk et al., “Tripartite Enrichment Project: Safeguards at Enrichment Plants Equipped with Russian Centrifuges,” IAEA-SM-367/8/02, 2001, www-pub.iaea.org.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2017.