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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

China starts up 1st 4th generation nuclear reactor

[Fast reactors typically use a molten alkali metal such as sodium as the coolant. These reactors allow for higher energy neutrons that can be used for breeding or transmutation of actinide fission products.]


Updated: 2010-07-21 23:49
BEIJING - Chinese scientists have succeeded in testing the country's first experimental fourth generation nuclear reactor, an expert said here on Wednesday.

The successful start up of the China Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR) marked a breakthrough in China's fourth generation nuclear technology, and made China the eighth country in the world to own the technology, Zhang Donghui, general manager of the CEFR project, told Xinhua over phone.

China's existing 11 nuclear power generating units all use second generation of nuclear power generation technology. The country started the construction of its first third-generation pressurized water reactors using AP1000 technologies developed by US-based Westinghouse in 2009.

Compared with the third generation reactors which have an utility rate of uranium of just one percent, CEFR boasts an utility rate of more than 60 percent.

A new recycling technology called pyroprocessing is also used to close the fuel cycle by separating the unused fuel from most of the radioactive waste.

"The CEFR is safer, more environment-friendly, and more economic than its predecessors," Zhang said.