China to build world’s first hybrid fusion-fission reactor before 2030

Fusion-Fission Reactor

Fusion-Fission Reactor

The following is based on a translation of a report on a Chinese news site:

A report on says the China Academy of Engineering Physics in Sichuan has completed the conception design of the world’s first hybrid fusionfission reactor.

As the institute is in charge of developing China’s nuclear weapons, it must have actual knowhow for such a project.

Russia, Europe, US and Japan are all doing research into such a reactor but so far have no plans for building one.

China is the only country that has a plan to make such a reactor a reality.

According to the most recent reports, the design is not much different from the mainstream design put forth by scientists in other countries.

The fission core, installed with Uranium-238, operates by a super strong electric current of 60 million amperes. It provides the energy for the fusion core wrapped in it. There will be no radioactive waste as the nuclear fuel will be entirely burnt.

Huang Hongwen, the deputy responsible person for the project, said that the experimental research platform for the technology of the key unit would be built around 2020, while the experimental reactor would be built around 2030.

The research team believes that the planned reactor will have twice the generation capability of existing fission reactors.

The reactor is safer because the fusion and fission reaction can be immediately stopped by cutting the external power supply.

However, the time schedule is regarded as too ambitious by some scientists.

A physicist in China’s prestigious Tsinghua University, who refuses to disclose his name, said that China would be lucky if it is able to build the first fusion reactor within 50 years, let alone a mixed fusion-fission reactor.

However, Prof. Evgeny Velikhov, “godfather” of modern fusion reactors, is reported as saying in 2012 that it is easier to build a mixed reactor as it needs only one fifth of the external input of energy required by a “pure fusion” reactor.

Source: “China plans to build mixed fusion-fission nuclear reactor” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)


Categories: Mining & Energy

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