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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

China Develops New Breakthrough in Nuclear Technology

VOA News July 21, 2011

China says it has made a breakthrough in its nuclear technology, testing for the first time an experimental fast neutron reactor.

The China Institute of Atomic Energy says it tested the small reactor outside Beijing Thursday, connecting it to the power grid to produce electricity.

The test highlights Beijing's determination to be a leading innovator in nuclear power despite a slowdown in approving new plants to allow for safety checks following the nuclear disaster in Japan in March.

Beijing spent a year testing the fast neutron reactor before linking it to the power grid.

The new technology raises the uranium energy efficiency of the reactor, allowing less uranium to be used to produce power. It also means that nuclear waste from older reactors, which are less efficient, can potentially be reused. Experts say the technology also reduces radioactive waste.

However, the fast neutron reactors also have potential drawbacks, including a potentially riskier cooling system.



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