Our Advanced Fuel CANDU Reactor (AFCR™) enables the safe, sustainable and large-scale development of nuclear power, while improving uranium resource use and reducing fuel costs for utilities.
In July 2014, we signed an agreement with China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) to collaborate on nuclear energy projects in China and internationally using our evolutionary AFCR technology. Built on decades of CANDU® reactor success, our AFCR runs on recycled uranium fuel from light water reactors (LWRs). Like all other CANDU reactors, the AFCR uses on-power refuelling to enable unique flexibility in fuel replenishment.
A unique reactor technology
We began developing the AFCR with our Chinese partners in 2011. The heavy water moderated AFCR offers significant environmental benefits in combination with conventional LWRs. The AFCR can use either recycled uranium to increase uranium utilization efficiency or thorium, a new fertile material of much greater abundance than uranium.
Reducing spent fuel volumes
Our AFCR technology is attractive for countries such as China that rely on foreign sources of uranium and have reserves of used or ‘spent’ uranium from conventional LWRs as well as indigenous thorium.
One AFCR can be fuelled by reusing the recycled uranium from the spent fuel produced by four LWRs. The AFCR allows China to reduce its spent fuel volume and reliance on imported uranium, and generate more of its electricity from carbon-free sources. China currently operates two CANDU reactors at the Qinshan site that are world leaders in high-capacity factors.
Generation III safety
This 700MW Generation III reactor builds on our highly successful CANDU 6® reactors and extensive R&D in fuel cycles. A number of evolutionary adaptations ensure its compliance with the latest international safety standards and Generation III requirements. This includes improved fuel technology, new active and passive safety systems and standardized design for reduced maintenance and capital costs.
Compelling environmental benefits
Every twin AFCR generates enough power to meet the daily needs of two million people with no emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulphur oxide, toxic heavy metals, aerosols, ozone or other pollutants. A twin AFCR saves up to 13 million tonnes of CO2 per year when displacing traditional coal. When displacing natural gas, it saves up to six million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
- One AFCR can be fuelled by reusing the spent fuel from four LWRs, reducing spent fuel volumes per unit of energy produced.
- The AFCR meets the latest safety standards and post-Fukushima requirements.
- The AFCR emits no nitrogen oxide, sulphur oxide, toxic heavy metals, aerosols, ozone or other pollutants.
- Each AFCR twin reactor saves up to:
- 13 million tonnes of CO2 per year when displacing traditional coal
- 6 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year when displacing natural gas