China opens nuclear research facilities to encourage global cooperation

29 March 2024

China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has opened ten of its key nuclear technology research facilities and testing platforms to the world for the first time to encourage international cooperation. These include the new-generation Huanliu-3 (HL-3) tokamak; the world's highest-energy compact proton cyclotron accelerator, the Beijing Radioactive Ion-beam Facility (BRIF); one of the world's six major neutron sources, the China Advanced Research Reactor; the Beishan Underground Research Laboratory (URL); the Minjiang Test Reactor for medical isotope research; the Swimming Pool Reactor; a Miniature Neutron Source Reactor; a Thermal & Safety Hydraulics Test Reactor; a Seismic Simulator & other Qualification Facilities; and the Wind Tunnel Featured Nuclear Environment Simulation Facilities.

The HL-3 tokamak, China's largest and most advanced tokamak, is designed to support the operation of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) under construction in France and the development of future fusion reactors. The Beishan URL in Northwest China's Gansu Province, 560 metres underground, is used for the safe disposal of high-level radioactive waste. The BRIF, the only operational online isotope separation radioactive ion beam facility in Asia, can produce over 60 stable nuclear beams and 55 radioactive nuclear beams.

The opening of these research facilities and testing platforms by China to the world is expected to promote the development of nuclear technology worldwide. Sumair N. Khan, Science and Technology Counselor at the Pakistani Embassy in China, told the Global Times that these open research facilities are crucial for developing countries.

"Developing countries may not have the research conditions similar to China but are eager to utilise Chinese research facilities to train researchers and receive support for their research work," Zhang Libo, Vice President of CNNC’s China Institute of Atomic Energy, told the Global Times. He emphasised the importance of international cooperation in nuclear science and technology for mutual benefit and scientific progress.

Image: The China Advanced Research Reactor (CARR) at the China Institute of Atomic Energy  

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