Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Chinese scientists urged to develop new thorium nuclear reactors by 2024

"The problem of coal has become clear. If the average energy consumption per person doubles, this country will be choked to death by polluted air"
Chinese scientists urged to develop new thorium nuclear reactors by 2024 | South China Morning Post:
Image from source article
The deadline to develop a new design of nuclear power plant has been brought forward by 15 years as the central government tries to reduce the nation's reliance on smog-producing coal-fired power stations.
A team of scientists in Shanghai had originally been given 25 years to try to develop the world's first nuclear plant using the radioactive element thorium as fuel rather than uranium, but they have now been told they have 10, the researchers said.
"In the past the government was interested in nuclear power because of the energy shortage. Now they are more interested because of smog," said Professor Li Zhong, a scientist working on the project.
Premier Li Keqiang told the national legislature in Beijing on March 5 that the government had declared "war on pollution", and measures to tackle the problem included closing coal-fired power stations. About 70 per cent of China's electricity was produced by coal-fired plants last year, according to government figures. Nuclear power stations generated just over 1 per cent.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences set up an advanced research centre in Shanghai in January with the aim of developing the world's first industrial reactor using thorium molten-salt technology, according to a statement from the academy's Bureau of Major Research and Development Programmes.
...Professor Li, director of the project's molten salt chemistry and engineering technology division, said the smog crisis had provided huge impetus for their research.
"The problem of coal has become clear. If the average energy consumption per person doubles, this country will be choked to death by polluted air," he said. "Nuclear power provides the only solution for massive coal replacement and thorium carries much hope."
Researchers working on the project said they were under unprecedented "war-like" pressure to succeed and some of the technical challenges they faced were difficult, if not impossible to solve in such a short period.
Read the entire article at the South China Morning Post:

1 comment: