After passing all tests, China's 1st low-enriched uranium "micro reactor" achieved full power operation on March 26, marking another breakthrough for China since the completion of its nuclear security guarding demonstration center and another cooperative success between China and the United States in this field.
At the end of 2011, the China Atomic Energy Authority authorized the China Institute of Atomic Energy under the China National Nuclear Corporation(CNNC) to cooperate with a lab of the United States Department of Energy to replace high-enriched uranium in a "micro reactor" with fuel having a lower level of enrichment. The project required a series of processes involving the reactor core's structural and fuel assembly design, manufacture, material loading and unloading, spent fuel management and experimental reactor debugging. In all these areas, technicians had breakthroughs in several key technologies, ensuring the security of the "micro-reactor".
The reactor is mainly used for neutron activation analysis, nuclear instrument probes for testing, teaching and training, and small amount of isotope production. Being equipped with low-enriched uranium, it is of improved security. Fuel in the reactor lasts for 30 years without replenishment.
CNNC says it will take up every opportunity to make further contributions to the peaceful utilization of nuclear power for civic purposes.