The reactor is unusual in that it has molten salts circulating inside it instead of water.It has the potential to produce nuclear energy that is relatively safe and cheap, while also generating a much smaller amount of very long-lived radioactive waste than conventional reactors.
Operated by the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics (SINAP), the reactor is designed to generate just two megawatts of thermal energy — enough to supply up to 1,000 households. If the experiments are successful, however, China hopes to build a reactor with a capacity of 373 megawatts by 2030, which could supply hundreds of thousands of households with electricity. According to the government of Gansu Province, construction was to be completed by early September and a trial run is slated later this month.
What exactly is thorium and why is it important?