Advanced Fuel CANDU Reactor

One of the unique features of the CANDU reactor design is its ability to use alternative fuels such as recovered uranium (RU) from the reprocessing of  light water reactor (LWR) spent fuel, plutonium (Pu) mixed oxide, and thorium-based fuels, in addition to the conventional natural uranium fuel. 

Our Advanced Fuel CANDU Reactor (AFCR™) enables the safe, sustainable and large-scale development of nuclear power, while improving uranium resource utilization rates and reducing fuel costs for utilities. 

How it works

We began developing the AFCR with our Chinese partners in 2011. Our AFCR technology is attractive for countries such as China which rely on foreign sources of uranium and have reserves of depleted uranium, a by-product of enrichment processes, used or ‘spent’ uranium from conventional LWRs as well as indigenous thorium.

One AFCR can be fuelled by reusing the recycled uranium from four LWRs. The AFCR will allow China to reduce its spent fuel volume and reliance on imported uranium, and generate more of its electricity from low-carbon sources. China currently operates two CANDU reactors at the Qinshan site that are world leaders in operation performance, demonstrated by their high-capacity factors. 

Compelling environmental benefits

Every twin AFCR generates enough power to meet the daily needs of two million people with no emissions or other pollutants. A twin AFCR saves up to 13 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year when displacing traditional coal. When displacing natural gas, it saves up to six million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. That helps in taking about 520 million cars off the road and in improving the overall nuclear sustainability through utilization of otherwise waste products.

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. 

Sustainability achievements:
  • 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.
  • 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

Our AFCR Technical Summary discusses the AFCR in more detail.

In September 2016, SNC-Lavalin signed an agreement in principle for a Joint Venture with China National Nuclear Corporation & Shanghai Electric Company.