Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Pinpointing China's New Plutonium Reprocessing Plant

| May 05, 2020

Over the last decade, China has been actively pursuing plans to recycle its spent nuclear fuel. In 2010, it began testing a pilot civilian plutonium reprocessing plant with a design capacity to produce about 50 metric tons of heavy metal per year at the Jiuquan nuclear complex in Gansu province (known as Plant 404). In July 2015, the China National Nuclear Corporation started construction of a larger demonstration reprocessing plant at the Gansu Nuclear Technology Industrial Park in Jinta, Gansu Province, about 100 kilometers from the Jinquan pilot plant. The demonstration reprocessing plant, which has a planned capacity of 200 metric tons per year, is to be commissioned in 2025.

While there was news coverage of the groundbreaking ceremony of the Gansu Nuclear Technology Industrial Park, information on the location and construction progress has been scarce. Limited available information and satellite imagery, however, offer clues about the key facilities under construction.

On August 30, 2017, the head of the company responsible for building the demonstration plant announced the completion of the water supply system for the industrial park. The water pipeline begins at the Jiuquan Plant and ends at the demonstration plant in Jinta county, with a total length of 125 kilometers and elevation loss of 249 meters.

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Zhang, Hui.“Pinpointing China's New Plutonium Reprocessing Plant.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May 5, 2020.