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China starts up world’s first fourth-generation nuclear reactor

BEIJING, Dec 6 (Reuters) – China has started commerharmont & blaine harmont&blain geox outlet borsa la milanese benetton donna outlet harmont & blaine sito ufficiale benetton on line benetton donna outlet geox sconti benetton donna outlet air jordan 1 element geox donna saldi scarpe geox outlet donna sito ufficiale geox negozi and cial operations at a new generation nuclear reactor that is the first of its kind in the world, state media said on Wednesday.

Compared with previous reactors, the fourth generation Shidaowan plant in China’s northern Shandong province is designed to use fuel more efficiently and improve its economics, safety and environmental footprint as China turns to nuclear power to try to meet carbon emissions goals.

Xinhua news agency also said the 200 megawatt (MW) high-temperature, gas-cooled reactor (HTGCR) plant developed jointly by state-run utility Huaneng, Tsinghua University and China National Nuclear Corporation, uses a modular design.

Modular plants refer to those of less than 300MW that can be constructed off site. Proponents say they can operate in remote locations and power traditionally hard-to-abate heavy industry sectors, but critics say they are too expensive.

NuScale Power, previously expected to be the first U.S. company licensed to build a small modular reactor, said this month it was terminating a planned 462MW project in Utah because of rising costs.

Apart from gas reactors like the Shidaowan HTGR, which use helium to cool, there are also lead, molten-salt or sodium-cooled fast reactors, capable of turning nuclear waste into fuel, and supercritical water-cooled reactors – which directly use water to drive a turbine instead of steam for electricity generation.

Reactors like Shidaowan will be able to produce hydrogen alongside electricity for the grid.

Hydrogen produced by the reactors can be used as fuel, as well as in a variety of industrial applications.

Most hydrogen produced in the world today is made from carbon-based materials and therefore creates carbon dioxide emissions, according to the World Nuclear Association.

However, high temperature reactors can use thermochemical processes to produce zero-carbon hydrogen using water.

Inside the Shidaowan nuclear plant, which began construction in 2012. Photo: Weibo/CPNN

While Shidaowan is the world’s first HTGR to enter commercial operation, other Chinese fourth-generation plants may soon be on their way.

In southeast China’s Fujian province, the CNNC-managed Xiapu sodium-cooled fast reactor pilot project is also under construction, and is expected to be connected to the grid by 2025.

Unlike the HTGRs, sodium-cooled fast reactors are able to recycle depleted uranium, allowing the fuel to be reused again.

There are other sodium-cooled reactors in operation in the world, but they are third-generation.

Other fourth-generation nuclear reactor projects are undergoing research and design in the United States, Japan, and Canada, but have yet to begin construction, according to the International Energy Agency.

China has been increasing its nuclear capacity at the highest rate globally. However, as of this year, nuclear power still made up only 5 per cent of China’s energy generation as the country continues to rely on coal, according to the World Nuclear Association.

China has a goal to produce 10% of electricity from nuclear by 2035 and 18% by 2060, but as of September this year had not met its 2020 target to install 58 gigawatts of nuclear capacity.

China has also not signed a pledge by 20 countries at the COP28 climate conference taking place in Dubai to triple nuclear power capacity by 2050.

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