China Activates World’s First Clean Reactor In September

Chinese government scientists have announced plans for the first experimental clean reactor of its kind that does not require water for cooling.

China activates world’s first “clean” reactor in September

By Vaagisha Singh

Chinese government scientists have announced plans for the first experimental clean reactor of its kind that does not require water for cooling.

Liquid-operated prototype molten salt reactor thorium rather than uranium Is expected to be safer than traditional nuclear clean reactor because thorium cools and solidifies as soon as it is exposed to air. In short, potential leaks emit far less radiation into the surrounding environment than leaks from traditional reactors.

The prototype clean reactor is expected to be completed next month, with the first tests starting as early as September.

This type of clean reactor does not require water and can be operated in desert areas. The location of the first commercial reactors scheduled to be built by 2030 is in the desert city of Wu Wei, and the Chinese government has announced that the deserts and plains of western China, with a small population, and up to 30 China’s Belt and Road Initiatives. Countries Participating in the Initiative — A global investment program that confirms that China will invest in the infrastructure of 70 countries.

Chinese government officials consider nuclear energy exports to be an important part of the Belt and Road Program.

“Going out of nuclear power is already a national strategy, and nuclear exports optimize our export trade,” said Masajun Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference).

Will help free up domestic high-end manufacturing capacity. CPPCC) — A political advisory body that acts as a link between the Chinese government and corporate interests, stated in a report on the CPPCC website.

Thorium, a silvery radioactive metal named after the Nordic thunder god, is much cheaper and more abundant than uranium and cannot be easily used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

According to the Shanghai Applied Physics Institute of the team that developed the prototype, new nuclear reactors is part of the motivation of Xi Jinping Jintao that the carbon neutral China to up to 2060 years.

According to a 2019 report by the US-based Rhodium Group, China currently contributes 27% to global total carbon emissions, the largest from individual countries and combined from developed countries as a whole. More than anything else.

“Small reactors have significant advantages in terms of efficiency, flexibility and economy,” said Yan Rui, a professor of physics at the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, in a journal on July 15. I am writing in a treatise about the project. Nuclear technology.

“These can play an important role in the transition to clean energy in the future. Small reactors are expected to be widely deployed in the coming years.” Nicknamed the “Sea of ​​Death,” the Taklimakan Desert is the world’s second-largest changing sandy desert and a candidate site for a waterless nuclear reactor. 

Instead of using fuel rods, molten salt reactors work by dissolving thorium in liquid fluoride salts and then sending them to the reactor chamber at temperatures above 1,112 Fahrenheit (600 ° C). When high-energy neutrons collide, thorium atoms split, emitting energy and more neutrons through a process called the nucleus. Nuclear fission.

This initiates a chain reaction and releases heat It is placed in a mixture of thorium and salt and sent to a second chamber where excess energy is extracted and converted into electricity.

Thorium reactors have long retained an elusive appeal to nuclear scientists. Almost all mined thorium, located just two positions to the left of uranium in the periodic table of chemical elements, is thorium232, the isotope used in nuclear reactions. In contrast, only 2% to 3% of all mined uranium is fissile uranium-235 used in conventional nuclear reactors. This makes thorium a much richer source of energy.

That’s not the only advantage of thorium. Uranium-235 nuclear reaction waste remains highly radioactive for up to 10,000 years and includes: Plutonium-239, An important component of nuclear weapons.

Traditional nuclear waste must be contained in lead containers, isolated in a safe facility, and rigorously checked to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. In contrast, the main by-products of the thorium nuclear reaction are uranium-233, which can be reused in other reactions, and many other by-products, which have an average “half-life” (the time it takes for half the radioactive atoms of a substance). It collapses into a non-radioactive state for only 500 years).

After the two-gigawatt prototype was tested in September, China plans to build its first commercial thorium reactor. With a height of 10 feet (3 meters) and a width of 8 feet (2.5 meters), researchers claim that it can generate 100 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 100,000 people.

Still, it must be combined with other equipment, such as steam turbines, to produce usable electricity.

The Molten Salt Reactor concept was first conceived in 1946 by the US Air Force’s predecessor as part of a plan to create a nuclear supersonic jet.

However, the project was canceled in 1954 due to too many problems such as high temperature salt corrosion and pipe cracking in the experiment. Since then, several groups have attempted to build a viable molten salt reactor, including experiments.

Although it is a reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, it is very difficult to raise the fission reaction to a sustainable level without adding uranium due to the weak radioactivity of thorium.

It is not yet clear how Chinese researchers have solved these technical problems.

China’s efforts plan to build a pilot plant in Wyoming, including what is called sodium, which is financially backed by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, and many other new creations of thorium reactors. This is the most developed of all the attempts.

Reactors are not the only technology China is investing in as part of its efforts to become carbon-neutral. The Baihetan Dam, the world’s second-largest hydroelectric power facility after the Three Gorges Dam in China, went online in June and has a power generation capacity of 16 gigawatts.

UK-based energy consultant Wood Mackenzie Quote China plans to add 430 gigawatts of new solar and wind capacity over the next five years.

Even if China has established itself as a world leader in combat Climate change, The country is already under serious tension due to extreme weather. CNN reports that this week’s severe floods in Henan have evacuated about 100,000 people and killed at least 33.

The Zhengzhou meteorological bureau, the capital of the region, said the three-day rain was consistent with levels that were only seen “once every 1,000 years.”

Originally published at Eminetra

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