Research and Development
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R&D work of nuclear science and technology involves sophisticated comprehensive science and technology, with exclusive studies on the existence forms of substance of microcosmos within a nucleus, their internal structure, properties and law of conversion, and the techniques associated with nuclear energy release and utilization. They can be mastered only based on highly-developed technology and industry, and effective coordination and co-operation between research institutes of mechanics, mathematics, physics and chemistry, and industrial units of chemical industry, metallurgy, machinery and electronics. Otherwise, nuclear application can hardly be realized. Since the countries with these techniques maintain absolute secrecy, any other country in need of them has to develop the techniques by itself. So, the process of nuclear industrial development, first of all, is a process of research and development of nuclear science and technology, and also a process of overcoming difficulties in science and technology. In this context, nuclear industry and study on nuclear science and technology are regarded as an inseparable entirety.

Nuclear science and technology are the technical base for developing nuclear industry. Besides the basic research of nuclear physics and radiochemistry, the study of nuclear science and technology also includes the special technical research associated with the accelerator and particle detecting techniques; research and development of production process for fusion material and fission material to meet the requirements of nuclear energy utilization, such as uranium geological survey, uranium mining and milling, conversion of uranium compounds, uranium enrichment, metallurgy of uranium and plutonium, production and application of radioisotope, analysis of nuclear material; and research of a series of branch disciplines and applied researches of radiation protection, environmental protection, radioactive wastes treatment and disposal.

China nuclear industry, a new section in industrial system which was established in 1955 after the founding of the People''s Republic of China. Under the centralized leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, depending upon energetic coordination throughout the country and hard-working of the broad masses of staff and workers working in nuclear industry, and overcoming one difficulty after other, a complete nuclear industrial system was established. The founding and development of nuclear industry has brought about the development of China basic industries and nuclear-related science and technology, creating conditions for peaceful uses of nuclear energy, development of nuclear power, and popularization of applications of isotopes and other nuclear techniques.

1. Research in nuclear physics

Nuclear physics is a discipline to study the structure, property and movement law of nucleus, a base for applications of nuclear energy and nuclear techniques. Since 1950, when the research of nuclear physics was initiated in China, significant achievements have been accomplished, and now, the research institutes in this field are involved in theoretical nuclear physics, nuclear structure and nuclear reaction experiment, neutron physics and fission physics, condensed-state physics and high-current particle beam physics.

2. Research in nuclear chemistry and radiochemistry and radioindustry

In China, the development of radiochemistry was initiated in 1934. ZHENG Dazhang, a Chinese student of M. Curie, established the Radium Research Institute in Beiping (Beijing) when he returned China from Paris, and carried out radiochemical research on Pa and U series, preliminary achievements accomplished. Since the PRC was founded, substantial progress has been achieved in research of radiochemistry and radioindustry. The research institutes in this field have performed a large number of research work in radiochemistry and radioindustry. In respect of nuclear fuel reprocessing, research work is performed on the process of spent fuel reprocessing and its improvement; in radioactive wastes management on crown ether (CR), ion-exchange separation of isotopes, extraction of fission nuclides from high-level liquid waste, decomposition and synthesis of organic products. And research work also relates to the topics in analytical chemistry and fission chemistry.

3. Research in nuclear reactor technology

Nuclear reactor is a means to generate the controllable self-sustained chain nuclear fission reaction. A large number of neutrons, γ-ray, other nuclear radiation, and heat energy can be produced in a nuclear reactor. Therefore, the nuclear reactor (10) can be used for study of nuclear physics, production of isotopes, and application of radiation exposure, or for many other application, including electricity production, motive power generation and heating. Reactors can be divided into different types: research reactor, production reactor, nuclear power reactor, plant power reactor and engineering test reactor. China first heavy water research reactor was constructed in 1958,(11) having been operating safely for 20 years, overhaul and reconstruction were carried out from November 1978 to December 1980,(12) the reactor is still operating now. Qinshan NPP, the first self-designed 300 MW prototype NPP in China, was completed and put into production in 1991. Besides, China has also developed other reactor types: low-temperature, miniature reactor, pulsed reactor, etc. During the 9th Five-Year Plan, fast breeder reactor, high-temperature gas-cooled reactor, fission-fusion hybrid reactor are being studied, and they are listed into China Hi-Tech Development Program.