Pool-type experimental reactors have had safe and stable operation for the past 50 years.
“It can be constructed either inner land or on the coast, making it an especially good fit for northern inland areas, and it has an expected lifespan of around 60 years. In terms of costs, the thermal price is far superior to gas, and is comparably economical with coal and combined heat and power (CHP).”
A feasibility study on constructing China’s first nuclear plant for district heating is being carried out by China General Nuclear and Tsinghua University. The plant would use the domestically-developed NHR200-II low-temperature heating reactor technology.
Pool reactors at universities since the 1960s
A common university research reactor design (67 units) is the pool-type reactor, where the core is a cluster of fuel elements sitting in a large pool of water. Among the fuel elements are control rods and empty channels for experimental materials. Each element comprises several (e.g. 18) curved aluminium-clad fuel plates in a vertical box. The water both moderates and cools the reactor, and graphite or beryllium is generally used for the reflector, although other materials may also be used. Apertures to access the neutron beams are set in the wall of the pool. Tank type research reactors (32 units) are similar, except that cooling is more active.The TRIGA (Training, Research, Isotopes, General Atomics) reactor is a common pool-type design (38 units in 2017, with 31 decommissioned) with three generations of design commissioned since 1960.
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