Energy Sources

China’s Newly Functioning Helium-Cooled Nuclear Reactor

Main image to the post China’s Newly Functioning Helium-Cooled Nuclear Reactor

China has officially initiated the commercial operations of the Shidaowan nuclear reactor, which is a collaborative effort between state-owned energy company Huaneng, Tsinghua University, and the China National Nuclear Corporation. Unlike conventional nuclear reactors that rely on water for cooling, the Shidaowan reactor stands out by using helium gas as its coolant, a crucial development for China, a nation facing water scarcity challenges. The reactor, with a capacity of around 200 megawatts, is a notable addition to China's energy infrastructure and a symbol of the country's commitment to advancing its science and technology programs.

The unique feature of the Shidaowan reactor lies in its cooling mechanism, which offers advantages such as reducing the need for extensive water usage, a common concern for traditional nuclear plants. While other powerful reactors like the Grand Gulf in the US produce significantly more electricity, the use of helium in the Shidaowan reactor addresses an essential environmental and sustainability issue in China. Moreover, this reactor is equipped with safety measures that enable it to shut down automatically in case of emergencies, even if the cooling system malfunctions, setting a new standard for nuclear reactor safety protocols.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09