The Nuclear Future’s Institute’s Dr Simon Middleburgh and NFI Honorary Professor Lyndon Edwards have been quoted in a press release article by Nature on molten salt nuclear reactor technology. Nature was first published in 1869 and is the world’s leading multidisciplinary science journal. Nature publishes the finest peer-reviewed research that drives innovation in the world’s most important scientific topics.
Nature’s article discussed China’s preparation to test thorium-fuelled nuclear reactors–if China’s experimental reactor proves successful, it could lead to full commercialisation, helping the nation meet its climate targets. China already is home to over 50 conventional nuclear reactors, the experimental thorium reactor, which is in Wuwei, will be a world-first.
Honorary Professor in the NFI, Lyndon Edwards was also quoted in the Nature article. “Thorium is much more plentiful than uranium and so it would be a very useful technology to have in 50- or 100-years’ time,” says Lyndon Edwards “… but the technology will take many decades to realise, so we need to start now,” he adds.
Simon says that “We are going to learn so much new science, if they would let me, I’d be first on the plane there.” It could take months for China’s reactor to reach full operation. “If anything along the way goes wrong, you can’t continue, and have to stop and start again,” says Simon. For example, the pumps might fail, pipes could corrode or a blockage might occur. Nevertheless, scientists are hopeful of success.
Molten salt reactors are just one of many advanced nuclear technologies China is investing in, we hope these technologies will aid in the efforts to reach net-zero climate goals by 2050.
Read the full Nature article here (institution login may be required): https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02459-w