A team of government researchers in China have unveiled the design for a commercial nuclear reactor that is expected to be the first in the world that does not need water for cooling, allowing the systems to be built in remote desert regions to provide power for more densely populated areas.
The molten salt reactor, which is powered by liquid thorium rather than uranium, should also be safer than traditional ones because in the event of a leak, the molten thorium would cool and solidify quickly, dispersing less radiation into the environment.
Construction work on the first commercial reactor should be completed by 2030 and the government plans to build several in the deserts and plains of central and western China.
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China may also consider building these reactors for some countries that have signed up to the Belt and Road Initiative because, unlike uranium, thorium cannot be used to make nuclear weapons.