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China achieves major breakthrough in immobilizing nuclear waste

China's first facility for immobilizing high-level radioactive waste in glass went into operation in the city of Guangyuan, Southwest China's Sichuan province, on September 11. This has made China one of few countries to master this technology and is of landmark significance for the green development of China's nuclear industry.

"The disposal of radioactive waste is the last step in the safe use of nuclear power, and the most difficult and technologically demanding part is the disposal of high-level radioactive liquid waste," said Liu Yongde, chief engineer of the China Atomic Energy Authority. Storing radioactive waste in glass is the most advanced way to dispose of liquid nuclear waste. Prior to this, only a few countries, including the United States, France, and Germany, had mastered this technology.

The project was approved by the China Atomic Energy Authority in 2004. It was designed through collaboration between China and Germany. The China National Nuclear Corporation Sichuan Environmental Protection Engineering Corporation is responsible for the construction of the storage facility along with the concerted efforts of other institutions. After the facility goes into operation, hundreds of cubic meters of high-level radioactive liquid waste can be safely disposed of each year. The glass produced by the facility will be buried in waste repositories hundreds of meters deep underground, achieving the goal of isolating radioactive materials from the biosphere and realizing complete safety, thus providing a solid guarantee for the safe use of nuclear power.