(Yicai Global) Dec. 10 -- China's first nuclear reactor, the 101 heavy water research reactor, will become a museum after its dismantling and disposal of the radioactive material it houses, officially retiring 60 years after its installation.
The first-stage scheme to disassemble the reactor located in the far western Beijing suburb of Xinzhen that includes early-stage preparations and demolition of peripheral systems has got the nod from the Chinese government, Science and Technology Daily reported today.
The 101 HWRR is China's first officially decommissioned nuclear reactor.
Imported from the former Soviet Union in 1955, the facility was permanently powered off at the end of 2007 after nearly 50 years of safe operation to enter the safety shutdown period and await decommissioning. The report laid down no specific timetable for the duration of the reactor's shutdown.
Its mothballing will unfold in three stages, the report said, citing Zhang Shengdong, assistant to the dean of China Institute of Atomic Energy. Disposal of system equipment and the reactor will follow the demolition of peripheral systems. The cauldron uses graphite as a reflector and neutron moderator, and retrieval of scrap graphite is risky due to volume expansion and waning flexibility after over 50 years of radiation exposure, Zhang stressed.
Deactivating nuclear facilities, which involves nuclear and chemical engineering, machinery, automation, radiation protection, radioactive waste disposal and environmental regulation and remediation, and many other fields, is a complex and systematic project, Zhang emphasized.