China makes nuclear power breakthrough

Jul 22, 2011
China said Friday it had hooked its first so-called "fourth generation" nuclear reactor to the grid, a breakthrough that could eventually reduce its reliance on uranium imports.

China said Friday it had hooked its first so-called "fourth generation" nuclear reactor to the grid, a breakthrough that could eventually reduce its reliance on uranium imports

The experimental fast-neutron reactor is the result of more than 20 years of research and could also help minimise radioactive waste from nuclear energy, the state-run China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIAE) said.

China is the ninth country to develop a fast-neutron reactor, which uses uranium 60 times more efficiently than a normal reactor, helping the country to reduce its reliance on imports of the mineral.

Beijing has stepped up investment in in an effort to slash its world-leading and scale down the country's heavy reliance on coal, which accounts for 70 percent of its energy needs.

But China's uranium reserves are limited, and it will have to import increasingly large amounts as its civilian nuclear programme gathers speed.

China -- the world's second largest economy -- currently has 14 nuclear reactors and is building more than two dozen others. It aims to get 15 percent of its power from by 2020.

According to the World Nuclear Association, it aims to increase nuclear power capacity to 80 by 2020 from 10.8 gigawatts in 2010.

The fourth-generation reactor, located just outside Beijing, has a capacity of just 20 megawatts. Other recently launched nuclear reactors in China had a capacity of more than one gigawatt, or 1,000 megawatts.

The latest technological step comes after China succeeded in reprocessing spent nuclear fuel in an experimental reactor in the northwestern province of Gansu in January.

Authorities said this would help extend the lifespan of proven uranium deposits to 3,000 years from the current forecast of 50-70 years.

Beijing has also pledged to improve emergency procedures and construction standards at its , after Japan's devastating earthquake and ensuing tsunami triggered an atomic crisis.

Explore further: Fukushima study: Think about unthinkable disasters

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User comments : 13

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antialias_physorg
2.8 / 5 (4) Jul 22, 2011
China -- the world's second largest economy -- currently has 14 nuclear reactors and is building more than two dozen others. It aims to get 15 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020.

Is this supposed to suggest that uranium is a 'renewable' resource?
Royale
4.7 / 5 (3) Jul 22, 2011
i just don't think it was worded well. I think they have that in nuclear power alone now.
pres68y
4.6 / 5 (7) Jul 22, 2011
Interesting that nuclear power is inside our earth and also powers the sun but we should not use it.

How about just using it more carefully -rather than abandoning it?
StandingBear
1.7 / 5 (11) Jul 22, 2011
It is the right of every nation to safeguard its citizens; in fact it is its duty! Corollary to that is its duty to provide for power for its citizen's industry; and nuclear power is clean, non polluting, and safer than the other types excepting solar and wind. It is the most reliable power in the universe save fusion, which the focus fusion folks are going to maybe bring to us this year in the form of a system houseable in a two car garage sized building yet supply power for ten thousand homes. What China has is the breeder reactor cycle. They expand this as a crash program and the rest of the world may as well forget their jobs or ever hope to be employed in any manufacturing industry. They will go to the Moon and get a lock on millions of tons of helium three for their fusion plants. They put a big honkin space laser up there and the rest of the human species can forget going to space unless they pay tribute and use their ships..& pay thru da nose fer that too.
yep
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 22, 2011
Unfortunately we cut our breeder reactor funding during the Carter administration in reaction to three mile island. If we would have kept going who knows maybe we would be cooking it up in energy plants instead of out the barrels of guns.
wwqq
4 / 5 (4) Jul 23, 2011
Is this supposed to suggest that uranium is a 'renewable' resource?


There's no such thing as renewable energy; the name is propaganda.

The sun is irretrievably converting 4 million tonnes of mass into radiation every second through the process of fusing lighter elements into heavier ones.

Sustainability is actually well-defined, however. If something is sustainable it meets the needs of today without compromising the needs of the future. Nuclear fission can do this, but it is not doing so at the present(once-through cycle); wind and solar can do this, but it is not doing so at the present(not capable of meeting the needs of today).

10 cubic metres of average rocks contain enough thorium-232 and U-238 to sustain a 10 kW average(~western european living standard at current levels of economic efficiency) life style for a 100 years. Breeder reactors can be sustainable on the millions to billions of years timescale.
Callippo
1 / 5 (3) Jul 23, 2011
Cold fusion of hydrogen at nickel will do all these technologies obsolete, because it would enable to have independent source of energy in every kitchen. Which is the biggest problem for every government, which controls its inhabitants with access to centralized sources of energy.
wwqq
5 / 5 (3) Jul 23, 2011
Cold fusion of hydrogen at nickel will do all these technologies obsolete, because it would enable to have independent source of energy in every kitchen.


This is a scam, hence why no reasonably accurate calorimetry has been allowed to be performed by ANYONE who claims to be fusing nickel with hydrogen. It's hard to cheat, it's not fussy and it can be performed by a moderately talented high-school student.

There's no non-crackpot theory for why the fusion of nickel with hydrogen isn't a gamma-radiation nightmare that requires several meters of water to shield it, as any reasonable person would expect.

No isotopic measurements have ever shown isotopic ratios distinguished from ordinary nickel.

In other words; it's just a scam.
holoman
1 / 5 (2) Jul 24, 2011
Wouldn't catch me living or even being close to this breeder !
Shelgeyr
1 / 5 (1) Jul 24, 2011
Beijing has stepped up investment in nuclear power in an effort to slash its world-leading carbon emissions and scale down the country's heavy reliance on coal, which accounts for 70 percent of its energy needs.


"...in an effort to slash its world-leading carbon emissions..."

I seriously doubt that's their motivation.

In fact, even if they have made such a claim (have they?) I expect it would just be to keep the Western Eco-nuts placated and in line.

The Chinese economy is expanding while at the same time advancing technologically. I think "an ever growing need for power generation" is probably motivation enough. Seriously, they're not moving to fast-neutron reactor technology in order to reduce carbon emissions. That 60x increase in efficiency... that's the reason.

rbrtwjohnson
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 25, 2011
Nuclear fission power plants will ever be an eternal menace; mankind is tired of so many nuclear disasters. I believe the aneutronic fusion is that should power our future energy needs, because it can generate an enormous quantity of electric energy without any radiation damage.
Sonhouse
not rated yet Jul 27, 2011
Wouldn't catch me living or even being close to this breeder !

You wouldn't be doing much breeding yourself if you were close to that one, eh.

The thing I notice, the reactor mentioned seems to be just a starter plant, 20 megawatts. That is far short of a commercial product, where they think in terms of gigawatts, not megawatts. Terawatts would be even better....
Skepticus
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 28, 2011
Sneer all you want, China is keeping at improving their nuclear reactors knowledge while you turn your back on them. Made in China used to be a joke. But one day, you will buy reactors from them like the cheap goods that you are buying now. Read all about it on your Ipads and hang your head in shame...By the way, your American Ipads are make in China, too!