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[cdn-nucl-l] HTGR nuclear reactor put into use in Beijing
Posted on Xinhua News on March 1, 2003 and at:
New type of nuclear reactor put into use in Beijing
Xinhuanet 2003-03-01 23:10:25
$B!!!!(BBEIJING, March 1 (Xinhuanet) -- China's first high temperature
gas-cooled reactor has begun generating power in a full swing in Beijing
recently, a leading researcher said here Saturday.
$B!!!!(BThe development of the reactor represents a major step in China's safe
use of nuclear energy to resolve its energy shortage, said Wu Zongxin, a
professor with the Nuclear Energy Technology Institute of Tsinghua
$B!!!!(BChina is the fifth country in the world to master the technology for
building this type of reactor, following the United States, Britain, Germany
$B!!!!(BConstruction of the reactor began in 1995, at a total cost of 250
million yuan (30 million US dollars). The reactor has undergone 100 safety
tests since it began thermal state testing in December 2000.
$B!!!!(BIt has a shorter production circle and lower production cost compared
with other types of reactors, Wu said.
$B!!!!(BMoreover, there is no need for regular reactor shut-down, since the
reactor can be re-fueled at any time. This, of course, enhances its
$B!!!!(BThe reactor produces temperatures three times that of pressurized water
reactors and is operationally very secure, Wu said.
$B!!!!(BSeveral key components of the reactor were designed and produced by
China under the country's high technology research development plan,
commonly-known as the "863 Program". The successful development of the
reactor paves the way for the building of similar or larger nuclear power
stations in China.
$B!!(BThe high temperature gas-cooled reactor is generally believed to be the
safest reactor in use in the world. In the event of an accident, the reactor
shuts down automatically and cools the surplus heat inside the reactor. A
nuclear accident such as Chernobyl is absolutely impossible, Wu said.
$B!!!!(BChina has been shifting the focus of nuclear power usage from defense to
civilian use since the 1980s. The country has already built three nuclear
power stations, two of which started commercial operations in the 1990s.
Four nuclear generating units are currently under construction. The
country's installed nuclear power capacity will reach 8.7 million kilowatts
in three years.
$B!!!!(BBut all these nuclear facilities are equipped with pressurized water
reactors, and the key spare parts were made in cooperation with overseas
producers. As a result, both the production costs and the price of
electricity produced are higher than those of thermal and hydro-electric
$B!!!!(BExperts from the International Atomic Energy Agency believe thehigh
temperature gas-cooled reactor presents a challenge to coal-fuelled power
$B!!!!(BIn view of the anticipated rapid growth in car purchases in thenext few
years, China is facing an increasingly serious oil shortage.
$B!!!!(BChina became a petroleum importer a decade ago. Experts predictthat the
domestic demand for petroleum products will grow by threeto four percent
$B!!!!(BChina is actively promoting clean energy production. By 2004, the ratio
of nuclear energy as a percentage of China's total energy production will
have risen from the current one percent to four percent. The figure is still
much lower than the world average of 16 percent. Enditem