China is about to sign a US$1.7-billion deal with Russia for the transfer of technology, as nuclear reactors at a massive new power plant in northern China are set to go live.

Under the contract, the state-owned China National Nuclear Corp will procure “solutions” from Russia for the No 3 and No 4 reactors at Xudabao Nuclear Plant in the northeastern Liaoning province.

Beijing has said it wants to promote sustainable energy – to clean up the region’s filthy air due to the burning of coal for heating and power generation.

Rosatom, a Russian state conglomerate specialized in nuclear energy, will take over the master design of a new reactor at Xudabao, which will be a VVER-1200/V491 configuration allegedly capable of generating 3,212 megawatts.

Under the VVER-1200 standard, the nuclear part of the plant is housed in a single building acting as a containment structure, with improved emergency core cooling and backup diesel power supply and feed water systems that rely on water tanks built on top of a containment dome. There is also a “core catcher” to contain the molten reactor core in the event of a severe meltdown.

The People’s Daily noted that the trial of the VVER-1200 technology would add to China’s status as a testing ground for the world’s third-generation nuclear reactors, complementing China’s indigenous third-generation Hualong reactor technology.

The Xudabao project, together with Tianwan Nuclear Plant in eastern Jiangsu province, is part of an MOU signed in June by CNNC and Rosatom that will involve the construction of four VVER-1200 reactors in China to be commissioned throughout the 2020s.

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