The world's first Generation IV fission nuclear reactor is in China

The world's first Generation IV nuclear reactor started operating in December 2023 at the Shidaowan nuclear power plant in Shidao Bay, Shandong Province, China.

After completing a 168-hour continuous operation test, it is now generating electricity for commercial use.

The consortium, formed by the state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation, Tshinghua University, and China Huaneng Group, began construction in 2012 and will operate the plant.

It has two high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs) of 250 MW thermal each and a steam generator with an installed capacity of 200 MW.

Compared to traditional fission nuclear reactors, this design uses fuel more efficiently and improves safety and its environmental footprint. In addition, because it is cooled with helium instead of water, the plant does not need to be located next to a large water source.

Another advantage is that, in addition to producing electricity, such reactors can also generate heat and hydrogen.

China has set a target of increasing its nuclear capacity by 50% by 2025 and achieving emission neutrality by 2060.

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