China is making a small lead-cooled reactor that would fit inside a shipping container. It will measure about 6.1 meter long and 2.6 meter high and would be able to generate 10 megawatts of heat, which, if converted into electricity, would be enough to power some 50,000 households
It is also capable of running for years or even decades without refuelling, and scientists say that because it produces neither dust nor smoke, even on a small island a resident would hardly notice its existence.
The research is partially funded by the People’s Liberation Army.
Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Nuclear Energy Safety Technology, a national research institute in Hefei, Anhui province, say they hope to be able to ship the first unit within five years.
The Chinese researchers admit their technology is similar to a compact lead-cooled thermal reactor that was used by the navy of the former Soviet Union in its nuclear submarines in the 1970s.
However, China would probably be the first nation to use such military technology on land.
While these “baby” reactors would able to generate large quantities of electricity and desalinate huge supplies of seawater for use as fresh water, they have also attracted serious environmental concerns.
SOURCE – South China Morning Post
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