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China To Connect Its First High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor to the Grid in 2017

Dec. 22, 2016 (EIRNS)—According to a news release by Tsinghua University, reported by the People’s Daily today, China’s first commercial High-temperature Gas-cooled Reactor (HTR), a fourth generation reactor capable of generating 600 Megawatts of electrical power, "is now undergoing the installation and commission stage," and will be hooked up to the grid in 2017.

Often described as a "meltdown-proof reactor," the 600-Megawatt HTR is a pebble-bed reactor that uses helium gas as the heat transfer medium, and runs at very high temperatures up to 950°C. The pebble-bed reactor was developed in Germany at the Jülich Research Center, and was then known as the AVR reactor. The first of its kind operated at 46 megawatt thermal power, about 13 megawatt electric power.

For the Chinese reactor, which will be the only commercial HTR in operation at the time of its commissioning, a German company, SGL Group, is supplying the billiard-ball-size graphite spheres that encase thousands of tiny pebbles of uranium fuel.

"Seven high-temperature gas-cooled reactors have been built, but only two units remain in operation, both relatively small: an experimental 10-Megawatt pebble-bed reactor at the Tsinghua Institute campus, which reached full power in 2003, and a similar reactor in Japan,"

People’s Daily reported.

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