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SNC-Lavalin implementing Canadian-designed nuclear solution in China

The firm will implement 37M Natural Uranium Equivalent (NUE) fuel, a mixture of depleted and recycled uranium, in CANDU reactors.


SNC-Lavalin has signed an engineering service contract and a licensing agreement with China’s Third Qinshan Nuclear Power Company Limited (TQNPC)  to implement 37M Natural Uranium Equivalent (NUE) fuel, a mixture of depleted and recycled uranium, in Qinshan’s CANDU reactors Units 1 and 2.

SNC-Lavalin’s work under the contract includes design definition, design verification, update of reactor nuclear design and safety case, regulatory support and licensing. The contract is valued at over $12 million.

“The landmark agreement between SNC-Lavalin and TQNPC will see the 37M fuel technology put into commercial use outside of Canada for the first time and takes advantage of the ample supply of depleted and recycled uranium in China,” said Sandy Taylor, president, Nuclear, SNC-Lavalin, in a company release.

“A step closer to closing the fuel cycle, 37M technology enables better use of alternate fuels in existing CANDU reactors. The two Qinshan CANDU reactors are already two of the best performing reactors in China and adding 37M NUE fuel further improves their ability to continue to deliver that high performance.”

SNC-Lavalin explains that the development of 37M fuel in Ontario was a collaboration between OPG (Ontario Power Generation) – the originator of the 37M design and its CANDU industry partners in the CANDU Owners Group to perform important testing and technology development.

OPG’s subsidiary Canadian Nuclear Partners licensed the 37M design to SNC-Lavalin which facilitated collaboration and further development by SNC-Lavalin, the original designer of the CANDU reactors used in China and around the world. This work contributes towards a version of the 37M fuel bundle design for use in those reactors. The first-ever fuel bundle to test the use of recycled uranium from light water reactors was successfully demonstrated in Qinshan Unit 1 in 2010.