Sébastien Le Belzic / Photo credit: Francois Laurens / Hans Lucas / Hans Lucas via AFP
2:32 p.m., June 20, 2023
China has just issued an operating license for its first thorium nuclear reactor, marking an important step in the search for advanced nuclear technologies. This chemical element has many advantages, especially at the ecological level.
A new reactor that should be talked about a lot. China has issued an operating license for its first nuclear reactor using thorium, a chemical element that has several advantages. It marks an important step in the search for advanced nuclear technologies since thorium is much more widespread than uranium and the latter produces very little radioactive waste. This Chinese reactor is located in the middle of the Gobi Desert and this is one of the advantages of this metal which powers these new generation reactors.
One of the largest reserves in the world located in China
These new reactors do not need to be built at the seaside and can reach very high temperatures, which greatly increases the efficiency of electricity production. But this is not the only advantage since thorium, which is used both as fuel and as a coolant, produces very little waste and it is a much more abundant resource than uranium. Moreover, China has one of the largest reserves of thorium in the world. They are sufficient, according to experts, to supply the country with energy for more than 20,000 years.
If the tests of this first reactor are conclusive, China plans to build hundreds of them throughout the country and to export this technology, in particular to the countries of the South. China is not the first to build a thorium reactor, but no attempt had so far gone beyond the experimental stage.