China Technology: Supercomputers and Breeder Nuclear Reactor

1. China’s first supercomputer with a computing speed of over 100 trillion times per second, the Dawning 5000A, also called the “Magic Cube,” will officially be installed in the Shanghai Supercomputer Center in mid-May, according to the Dawning Information Industry Company.

The Dawning 5000A, which is to be installed in Shanghai, will have three important missions— the national grid, Shanghai’s basic scientific research platform, and information services for the eastern China region, said Li Jun, President of the Dawning Information Industry Company. It will provide massive information processing, information development services, and high-performance computing services for the purpose of scientific research in all sectors of eastern China.

2. The installation and adjustment of main equipment for the China Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR) has been completed.

The sodium-cooled, pool-type fast reactor is being constructed with some Russian assistance at the China Institute of Atomic Energy (CIEA), near Beijing, which undertakes fundamental research on nuclear science and technology.

Fuel produced by Russia’s TVEL will be loaded into the reactor July/August and it is scheduled to be commissioned by the end of 2009.

The thermal power of the CEFR is 65 MW, matched with a 25 MWe turbine generator.

A 600 MWe prototype fast reactor is envisaged by 2020 and there are outline plans for a 1500 MWe version by 2030. In October 2008, the Russian-Chinese Nuclear Cooperation Commission called for construction of an 800 MWe demonstration fast reactor similar to Beloyarsk 4, currently the world’s only commercial fast breeder reactor.

Unlike most of the reactors used today for nuclear power generation, fast neutron reactors (FNRs) make maximum use of uranium resources by generating a certain amount more fuel than they consume. They do this by using fast neutrons to ‘burn up’ uranium and plutonium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, which can be surrounded a uranium ‘blanket’ in which slightly more plutonium is created than is used. The MOX fuel uses the plutonium recovered when spent fuel, including that from conventional light water reactors, is reprocessed.

0 thoughts on “China Technology: Supercomputers and Breeder Nuclear Reactor”

  1. “Ethical Review”…hate to say it, but it looks like big Pharma and/or the FDA is getting involved. If this approach were to work, look at the billions the cancer “research” infrastructure would stand to lose. This procedure needs to be tested—too many people have been lost. How do I donate to Kronos!

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  3. You are right that it is very exciting research. It is also something that should be worked on by more people. People working on figuring out the mechanisms and Cui working on the simple transfers.

    For humans there could be more complications with the procedures but even with more typing and matching to prevent or limit rejection there is still high potential. Plus there was other work where a persons own immune system got boosted with a bunch of replicated cells. It seems a lot can be done with supercharging either our own immune system or transferring supercharged immune systems from others.

    There is also a lot of lives to be saved with cheap and effective early stage detection.

  4. It seems like a fairly obvious approach to try, if your goal is to cure cancer – look for mice who don’t get or resist cancer, figure out at least superficially why they don’t, and see if that factor can be transferred to others. It feels like something that should have been tried 30 or 40 years ago.

    Am I missing something here, or have cancer scientists been too focused on “understanding” cancer, and not sufficiently focused on “curing it” – even as they use “the hunt for the cure” to draw huge public support and funding?

    Frankly, I was angered by the line to the effect that “if he had been an immunologist, he would have thrown the mouse away”. I think anyone who has lost someone to cancer would be, once they understand what that means. It’s as if Flemming had said “Darn, that fungus is killing the staphylococci in my petri dishes – rats, it ruined my experiment.”

    Even in the article you link to, we get an example of a scientist saying “don’t get too excited, they don’t understand why it works”. Shouldn’t I get excited that – even if it doesn’t work in humans – it could be closely examined to understand why it works in mice, and maybe transfer that understanding to a cancer cure for humans?

    For years I’ve been wondering why we’ve had several generations of intensive cancer research, with relatively little result. Maybe it’s because they’ve all had an attitude that is the perverse inverse of the old joke about the drunk looking for his keys “where the lights’s better”?

    I.e. it sounds as if they’ve refused to believe that there might be any solution that doesn’t first require full understanding of how cancer works. “If it sounds too good to be true, we won’t bother checking if it is, lest our collegues in science look down on us for our naivete.”


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