China plans to build the first “clean” commercial nuclear reactor

Are you interested in the possibility of use Nuclear reactors to control emissions, But worried about their water and Long-term safety? There may be an imminent solution. life sciences Report China has outlined plans to build the first “clean” commercial nuclear reactor using liquid thorium and molten salt.

The first prototype reactor should be ready in August, and the first test will be completed in September. By 2030, a full-scale commercial reactor should be ready.

The technology should not only be more environmentally friendly, but should also ease some political disputes. The waste produced by traditional uranium reactors remains extremely radioactive for up to 10,000 years, requiring lead containers and extensive safety. The waste also includes plutonium 239, an isotope essential for nuclear weapons.If there is a leak, they may also leak a lot of radiation, such as ChernobylThey also require a lot of water, so they cannot be used in arid climates.

However, thorium reactors dissolve their key elements into fluoride salts, and mainly output uranium 233, which you can recover through other reactions. The half-life of the rest of the reaction is “only” 500 years-still not spectacular, but safer. If a leak occurs, the molten salt will cool enough to effectively seal the thorium and prevent serious leakage. This technology does not require water and is not easy to use for the production of nuclear weapons. You can build a reactor in the desert far away from most cities without worrying about it increasing nuclear weapons stocks.

Therefore, China is building its first commercial reactor in the desert city of Wuwei in Gansu Province. Officials also see this as a way to promote China’s international expansion-it plans to establish as many as 30 countries participating in the company’s “Belt and Road” investment initiative. In theory, China can expand its political influence without contributing to the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

This may worry the United States and other political opponents that are lagging behind in thorium reactors. For example, the Natrium reactor in the United States is still under development. Even so, there may still be a long way to go in tackling climate change and achieving China’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2060. Heavy reliance on coal energy, And there is no guarantee that renewable energy can meet demand by itself.The thorium reactor can help China get rid of coal relatively quickly, especially Small reactor This can be constructed in a shorter period of time and fill too many gaps in large factories.

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