World’s smallest nuclear power plant: China is developing a reactor so tiny that it can fit in a shipping container
-It could provide enough energy to power 50,000 households
-The power plant could be installed on an island in the South China Sea
-The reactor could run for decades without needing to be refueled
China is developing the world’s smallest nuclear power station, which could go into operation within five years, according to new reports.
The tiny power plant would fit inside a shipping container and could generate 10 megawatts of heat – enough to power 50,000 households.
The mini reactor could be placed on an island in the disputed South China Sea.
Known as hedianbao, or ‘portable nuclear battery pack’, the tiny power plant would measure just 20 feet (6.1 metres) by 8.5 feet (2.6 metres), reports Stephen Chen for the South China Morning Post.
The lead-cooled reactor could potentially run for years or even decades before needing to be refueled.
The research is being carried out by the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Nuclear Energy Safety Technology and is being partly funded by the People’s Liberation Army.
‘Part of our funding came from the military, but we hope – and it’s our ultimate goal – that the technology will eventually benefit civilian users,’ Professor Huang Qunying, a nuclear scientist involved in the research, told the South China Morning Post.