China launches first tests of a waterless nuclear reactor. Government scientists in China have provided designs for a test reactor that is not cooled by water.Construction of the thorium-based molten salt reactor is expected to be completed this month, with the first tests scheduled to begin in September, according to the Gansu provincial administration.
Thorium is a radioactive metallic element that is close to uranium in chronological order. Thorium was explored as an alternative fuel source when the United States researched nuclear technology in the 1940s.
To this end, the United States also installed a test-based molten salt reactor based on thorium at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. But in the early 1970s, the idea of using thorium as an alternative to uranium was dropped. The plant has since been closed. The new reactor, which is being built near Wui on the outskirts of Gobi Desert in northern China, is a test prototype plant with a capacity of 2 MW.
The Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics published an article in the Chinese scientific journal Nuclear Techniques. Accordingly, it seems that there is an intention to build continuous miniature molten salt furnaces. They are each capable of generating 100 MW of power. This energy is estimated to provide enough electricity for 100,000 people.
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