China Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR)

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Last Updated: October 1, 2011
Other Name: 中国实验快堆; China's Experimental Fast Neutron Reactor
Location: Tuoli, roughly 400 km from Beijing
Subordinate To: China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIAE); China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC)
Size: 20 MWe
Facility Status: Operational

The China Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR) is China’s first fast neutron reactor and went into operation 21 July 2011. [1] The pool-type fast reactor has a thermal capacity of 65 MW and can produce 20 MW in electrical power. [2] According to its chief engineer Xu Mi the reactor has been operating successfully, and China will therefore attempt to put 40 percent of its power (8 MW) into the distribution network of the North China Grid. [3]

The reactor uses highly enriched uranium (HEU) of 64.4% enrichment imported from Russia. [4] While Chinese policy makers have yet to set a specific policy on the civilian use of HEU, China has been taking steps to shut down or convert HEU reactors to low enriched uranium (LEU). While the CEFR is currently loaded with HEU, China intends to use mixed oxide (MOX) fuel in its industrial-scale (600 MW) China Prototype Fast Reactor envisioned for 2020, and in future 1500 MW fast reactors by 2030. [5]

The reactor facility is operated by the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and was jointly organized by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND), and the China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIAE). [6] The CEFR project received research assistance from the Russian Fast Breeder Reactor Association and more “detailed design” assistance from experts of the Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Station. [7] Construction on the facility began in May 2000, led by Russia’s OKBM Afrikantov with Gidropress, NIKIET, and the Kurchatov Institute. The CEFR first reached criticality in June 2009 and was connected to the electricity grid on 21 July 2011. [8]

Sources:
[1] “Criticality for China’s First Fast Reactor,” Nuclear Engineering International, 23 July 2010, www.neimagazine.com; "Fast Reactor Will Soon Supply Power," China Daily, 24 March 2011; “Chinese Fast Reactor Starts Supplying Electricity,” World Nuclear News, 21 July 2011, www.world-nuclear-news.org.
[2] “Chinese Fast Reactor Starts Supplying Electricity,” World Nuclear News, 21 July 2011, www.world-nuclear-news.org.
[3] "Fast Reactor Will Soon Supply Power," China Daily, 24 March 2011; “Chinese Fast Reactor Starts Supplying Electricity,” World Nuclear News, 21 July 2011, www.world-nuclear-news.org.
[4] "Russia, China Ink Deal on Nuclear Power Plant, Plan more Deals," ITAR-TASS, 27 September 2010.
[5] Mark Hibbs, "Chinese Breeder Reactor Criticality Delayed until 2008," Nucleonics Week, 18 August 2005; "Chinese Fast Reactor Nears Commissioning," World Nuclear News, 7 April 2009, www.world-nuclear-news.org.
[6] “China's Experimental Fast Neutron Reactor Begins Generating Power,” Xinhua, 21 July 2011, www.news.xinhuanet.com.
[7] Paul French, “China Experimental Fast Reactor Ready to Connect,” Nuclear Energy Insider, 30 April 2010.
[8] “Chinese Fast Reactor Starts Supplying Electricity,” World Nuclear News, 21 July 2011, www.world-nuclear-news.org.

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