China plans cheaper and cleaner nuclear plants, including thorium molten-salt reactors

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Plazma Inferno!, Aug 5, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    Over the next two decades China hopes to build the world’s largest nuclear power industry. Plans include as many as 30 new conventional nuclear plants (in addition to the 34 reactors operating today) as well as a variety of next-generation reactors, including thorium (yep!) molten-salt reactors, high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (which, like molten-salt reactors, are both highly efficient and inherently safe), and sodium-cooled fast reactors (which can consume spent fuel from conventional reactors to make electricity). Chinese planners want not only to dramatically expand the country’s domestic nuclear capacity but also to become the world’s leading supplier of nuclear reactors and components, a prospect that many Western observers find alarming.
    Cina’s effort to develop molten-salt reactors, a technology that has sat all but forgotten in the United States for decades, reflects just how daring China’s nuclear ambitions are. Already, the government has invested some two $300 million over the last five years in molten-salt R&D.
    The first experiments with molten-salt reactors were carried out at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Tennessee, under its director Alvin Weinberg in the late 1950s. Today’s Chinese program, in fact, is the fruit of a unique and somewhat controversial partnership between Oak Ridge and the Shanghai Institute. The U.S. research program went on for more than a decade but was eventually shut down in favor of the technology used in the vast majority of nuclear power plants today. In retrospect, that decision contributed not only to the demise of a promising nuclear technology but also to the long stagnation of the industry.

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/602051/fail-safe-nuclear-power/
     
    Walter L. Wagner likes this.

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