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Commercial operations have started at a new generation nuclear reactor that is the first of its kind in the world, media said on Wednesday.
Compared with previous reactors, the fourth-generation Shidaowan plant is designed to use fuel more efficiently and improve its economics, safety and environmental footprint.
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.
Solves many of the problems with nuclear power
In today's nuclear reactors, no more than about five percent of the uranium stored in the reactor is consumed during operation. The rest is waste. In the fourth generation of nuclear power, up to 99 percent of the energy in natural uranium can be extracted. What is today seen as a problem, nuclear waste, becomes a resource that will last for thousands of years to come with the fourth generation of nuclear power.
Read more in our Optimist's Edge article:
News tips: Thomas Ahlström