China activates the 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.

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.

The liquid-powered prototype molten salt reactor thorium instead of uranium is expected to be safer than a traditional nuclear clean reactor because thorium cools and solidifies once exposed to air. In short, potential leaks emit far less radiation into the environment than leaks from conventional reactors.

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

These types of clean reactors do not require water and can operate in desert areas. The location of the first commercial reactors 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 are sparse with a small population and up to 30 of 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 officials consider nuclear exports an important part of the Belt and Road program.

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

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

Thorium, a silvery radioactive metal named after the Norse god of thunder, is much cheaper and more common than uranium and cannot easily be used to make nuclear weapons.

According to the Shanghai Applied Physics Institute of the team that developed the prototype, new nuclear reactors are part of Xi Jinping Jintao’s motivation to make China CO2 neutral for up to 2060 years.

According to a 2019 report by the U.S. Rhodium Group, China currently contributes 27% to total global carbon emissions, the largest from individual countries and the developed worlds combined. More than anything else.

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

“These can play an important role in the transition to clean energy in the future. Small reactors are expected to see large-scale use in the coming years. ”Nicknamed the” Sea of ​​Death “, the Taklimakan Desert is the second largest changing sand desert in the world and a candidate for a waterless nuclear reactor.

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

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

Thorium reactors have long retained an elusive pull for nuclear scientists. Almost all of the mined thorium, which is only 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 uranium extracted is fissile uranium-235 used in conventional nuclear reactors. This makes thorium a much richer source of energy.

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

Ordinary nuclear waste must be kept in lead containers, isolated in a secure facility and strictly controlled 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 that have an average “half-life” (the time it takes for half the radioactive atoms in a substance). It only collapses to a non-radioactive state for 500 years).

After the two-gigawatt prototype was tested in September, China plans to build its first commercial thorium reactor. At 3 meters high and 2.5 meters wide, researchers claim it can generate 100 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 100,000 people.

Still, it needs to be combined with other devices like steam turbines to produce usable electricity.

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

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

Although it is a reactor owned by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, the weak radioactivity of thorium makes it very difficult to bring the fission reaction to sustainable levels without adding uranium.

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

China’s efforts include building a pilot plant in Wyoming, including what is known as sodium, which is funded by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, and many other new thorium reactor developments. This is the most advanced of all attempts.

Reactors aren’t the only technology China is investing in as part of its carbon neutral drive. The Baihetan Dam, after the Three Gorges Dam in China, the second-largest hydropower plant in the world, went online in June and has a power generation capacity of 16 gigawatts.

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

Even though China has established itself as a global leader in the fight against climate change, the country is already under serious tension due to extreme weather conditions. CNN reports that this week’s severe flooding in Henan has evacuated about 100,000 people and killed at least 33 people.

The Meteorological Bureau of Zhengzhou, the region’s capital, said the three-day rainfall was at levels only seen “every 1,000 years.”

Originally published by Eminetra

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