By Editors of Power Engineering
A Chinese research institute is developing what they claim to be the world’s smallest nuclear power plant, with hopes of shipping the first unit within five years, reports the South China Morning Post.
Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Nuclear Energy Safety Technology in Anhui province say the plant would be small enough to fit inside a standard shipping container, and might be installed on an island in the disputed South China Sea.
The hedianbao, or “portable nuclear battery pack”, is partially funded by the People’s Liberation Army and would utilize a lead-cooled reactor to generate 10 thermal megawatts (MWt), sufficient to power about 50,000 Chinese households. Similar to technology used on 1970s-era Soviet submarines, it could run for decades without refueling, the Post reports.
China has lately increased its efforts to develop next-generation reactors for its expanding nuclear energy industry. Other projects under development include molten-salt and high-temperature gas-cooled reactors, all made possible by government funding.