Fast reactor readied for commercial use

March 24, 2011 at 1:24 AM
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BEIJING, March 24 (UPI) -- China plans to put its first experimental 20-megawatt fast reactor into commercial use in three months, the project's engineer said.

"Our 20-megawatt reactor has been operating successfully. We will put 40 percent of its power, which means 8 megawatts, into the distribution network of the North China Grid by the end of June," said Xu Mi, China Daily reported Thursday.

A fast reactor is seen as an improvement on traditional nuclear power plant reactors, as its uses uranium more efficiently and minimizes nuclear waste.

The newspaper said China is the eighth country to successfully test a fast reactor -- after the United States, Russia, France, Britain, Germany, Japan and India. The report said the world's first fast reactor began operation in 1946 in the United States.

Xu, a leading expert on fast reactor technology at the China National Nuclear Corporation, told China Daily he designed the experimental fast reactor to be suitable for commercial use so "power supply from a fast reactor is not far away in China."

He said CNNC already has started designing a 1,000-megawatt reactor. Construction is expected to start in 2017 and it should be in operation by 2023.

A spokesman at the Beijing Electric Power Co. confirmed that his company is working with the operators of the fast reactor. China has 13 traditional nuclear reactors in use and 27 under construction.

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