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The CARR reactor is open to foreign customers

AtomInfo.Ru, PUBLISHED 08.04.2023

The Chinese corporation CNNC has opened the CARR research reactor for projects of foreign companies and specialists.

To date, CARR has received more than 40 applications from abroad. The experiments that the applicants would like to put on are related to the needs of the aerospace and oil industries and to the study of new materials and a number of other areas.

Chinese research institutes and universities are already experimenting on CARR. In total, about 50 Chinese enterprises and organizations received access to the reactor's capabilities.

CARR Reactor

The name CARR stands for China Advanced Research Reactor. The decision to build CARR was made in 1997, construction began on August 26, 2002, the first criticality achieved on May 13, 2010.

The reactor design was developed by the Chinese Atomic Energy Institute (CIAE), part of the CNNC corporation. It uses its own intellectual properties. The degree of localization during the construction of the CARR reactor was 90%.

The reactor is located at the CIAE site in Beijing's Fangshan district. The distance from the site to the center of Beijing is approximately 37 kilometers.

The reactor type is the tank-in-pool one. The coolant is the light water, the reflector is the heavy water. The fuel is the plate one, U3Si2-Al with an enrichment of 19.75%.

The CNNC claims that the CARR reactor ranks first among research reactors in Asia and third in the world in terms of neutron flux.

The open data on the magnitude of the neutron flux in CARR differ from each other.

Thus, the maximum value of the thermal neutron flux of 8.0×1014 n/(cm2s) is recorded in the RRDB database maintained by the IAEA. In Chinese presentations, such a maximum flow is attributed to the reflector, while in the core the maximum flow should reach 1.0×1015 n/(cm2s) according to the project.

New tasks

"The purpose of the CARR reactor is to serve the basic national needs and help solve problems for the nuclear, aerospace, aviation, energy and transport industries of China," Chen Dongfeng, chief researcher of CNNC Corporation, said in an interview for the Chinese media group CMG.

The irradiation experiments that are currently being conducted at CARR concern studies of the blades of aircraft engines and wheels of high-speed trains. There is also a project related to the study of archaeological finds dating back to the times of the Western Han Dynasty (approximately 202 BC - 25 AD).

In 2022, a large amount of modernization work was carried out at the CARR reactor. The secretary of the party committee of the CIAE, Xue Xiaogang, in communication with Chinese journalists, noted that the modernization allowed expanding the experimental capabilities provided to customers.

"Our goal this year is to keep the reactor running at power level for more than 100 days. In 2024, we will try to increase the total operating time at power level to 200-250 days," Xue Xiaogang said.

"We also invite foreign friends to carry out research projects on our platform and jointly reach new frontiers," added the secretary of the CIAE's party committee.

Topics: Asia, China, Research reactors

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