A very interesting Wired article here about efforts of Chinise scientists and industries to open pebble-bed nuclear reactors for massive use.

Nuclear reactors have long been known to provide one of the most environmentally friendly power source, and surely the most powerful one. Their problem is safety (think three mile island, or Chernobyl).

The pebble-bed nuclear reactor design is different. It is inherently safe - its safety governed by physical laws. If you turn off all safety gear of such a reactor and send the operators home for supper, nothing will happen. The physical properties of the design impose a negative feedback that causes the reactor to cool off once it reaches a certain non-critical temperature. More about this on Wikipedia.

Moreover, such a reactor can be used to efficiently generate hydrogen - which will provide ample fuel for fuel-cell powered vehicles.

China plans on deploying 30 such plants by 2020 (the first will begin construction next year). I think it's great, perhaps from here will the freedom from oil come ?

Curious that such advances come from China. It is a huge country with a lot of bright people, and it has immense needs for power and other resources. Smart people + demand fuels scientific advance.


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