First commercial HTGR nuclear power plant

Interesting that, even in China, it takes about 11 years to build a new commercial nuclear power plant.
World’s 1st 4th-generation nuclear power plant goes into commercial operation in China -

BEIJING – The world’s first fourth-generation nuclear power plant, China’s Shidaowan high temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) nuclear power plant, has officially gone into commercial operation, according to the National Energy Administration and China Huaneng Group Wednesday.

The project, located in Shandong province and with China owning fully independent intellectual property rights, is jointly developed by China Huaneng Group, Tsinghua University and China National Nuclear Corporation.

HTGR is an advanced type of reactor that features fourth-generation nuclear power technology, and a key development direction of nuclear power, said Zhang Zuoyi, chief designer of the major program of HTGR nuclear power station and dean of the nuclear energy and new energy technology institute of Tsinghua University. …

More than 500 companies majoring in design and development, engineering construction, equipment manufacturing, production and operation participated in the project. The localization rate of the equipment of the nuclear power plant reached more than 90 percent, said Zhang Yanxu, a person in charge of the project. …

Construction of Shidaowan HTGR nuclear power plant started in December 2012, and generated power for the first time in December 2021.


While very High-Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor (HTGR) technology is considered “fourth-generation” technology, there’s nothing new about it. The Peach Bottom unit 1 reactor in Pennsylvania was an HTGR with a capacity of 40 megawatts which operated from 1966 through 1974 when it was decommissioned. The reactor was built by General Atomics and operated by the Philadelphia Electric Company. Research and demonstration HTGRs have been built in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan. Japan’s 30 megawatt High-Temperature Test Reactor (HTTR) began operation in 1999 and is still in service today.


Agreed – nuclear power in multiple versions is about 75 years old, about half the age of oil-fired power. But something can be interesting even if it is not new.

It is interesting that China is pursuing commercial-scale nuclear power while the West is now beginning to talk about maybe promoting small-scale test reactors of various types.

It is also interesting that even in China without the intervention of elite regulators, NGOs, and greedy lawyers, it still takes more than a decade to build a cutting-edge commercial-scale nuclear power plant, without even considering the additional years that must have been spent on design.

Bottom line for those of us who recognize that fossil fuels are a geologically-finite resource is that the race to replace fossil fuels with nuclear power at the needed global scale will be a very close-run thing – if indeed that race has not already been lost.


Synthetic chemical fuels are easy, with energy:


Aye, there’s the rub. Where can that energy come from on the vast scale required to keep the globe humming? (Hint: The answer is not windmills & solar panels).

Marion King Hubbert was the geologist who, back in 1956, breathed life into the Peak Oil movement by correctly predicting the peak of US onshore conventional oil production would occur in the 1970s. But King Hubbert was not concerned, since in those “can-do” days, there was already nuclear power and he demonstrated that the US had sufficient known nuclear resources to replace fossil fuels and power the whole country for about a millennium.

Interesting thought is that with today’s technology and a sufficiently large source of power (Hint: nuclear fission), we could extract CO2 from the atmosphere and manufacture the liquid hydrocarbon fuels which are demonstrably the most effective way to power all kinds of mobile equipment – forming a closed “Net Zero” cycle for carbon. However, that is not the kind of “Net Zero” which appeals to the ninnies who run our world.


They might be figuring it out


More info on China’s new HTGR reactor is at this link China Launches World's First Fourth-Generation Nuclear Reactor |

The article included the following projection on future reactors in China.

As of 2020, nuclear energy accounted for 5% of China’s generation mix, which continued to be dominated by coal, per data from the World Nuclear Association.

By 2035, nuclear energy is expected to make up 10% of the electricity generation mix and 18% by 2060, Chinese media quoted the China Nuclear Energy Association (CNEA) as saying earlier this year.