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Japan to consider developing high-temperature gas reactor

The Japanese government plans to consider developing and building next-generation nuclear reactors. One of them is known as a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor.

One feature of such a reactor is the use of helium gas to cool the reactor’s core. That theoretically makes it possible to extract extreme heat in an efficient manner compared with existing light-water reactors.

Electricity can be generated using gas turbines in addition to steam turbines. Experts say this can enhance power generating efficiency.

They also say the extreme heat extracted from the reactor could be used to produce hydrogen, seen as a next-generation energy source that can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Experts add that a structure that easily removes heat, along with fuel that can withstand high temperatures, can ensure the reactor’s safety, even if it loses power in an earthquake or tsunami.

According to a timetable set by the government, a demonstration reactor is expected to go into operation in the 2030s.

Researchers have been exploring the idea of developing a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor since the 1960s. But more than 50 years on, the technology is still under development. No reactors of this type have been used for commercial operation anywhere in the world.

Source: NHK News