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Advanced Helium-Cooled Reactor to be Given Power-Loss Test

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) is testing the safety shutdown system for high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs) in the event of a total power loss during full operation. This simulation aims to confirm the reactor's resilience against core meltdown even without cooling, ensuring safety during unforeseen emergencies. HTGRs, unlike conventional reactors, use helium gas as a coolant, offering inherent safety advantages. The upcoming test at the High Temperature Engineering Test Reactor (HTTR) in Oarai, will intentionally halt helium circulation to simulate power loss. Despite temperatures reaching 1,000°C, well below the fuel's design limit of 1,600°C, safety protocols will abort the test if abnormalities arise. If successful, discussions with regulatory authorities will proceed to potentially integrate HTGRs into hydrogen production facilities. Helium would still be used in the reactors.

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