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Heavy Water Reactor (HWR)

A Heavy Water Reactor (HWR) is a type of nuclear reactor that employs heavy water (deuterium oxide, D2O) as both its coolant and neutron moderator. Unlike light water reactors which use regular water, the heavy water in HWRs is highly efficient at slowing down neutrons, allowing the reactor to use natural uranium as fuel without the need for enrichment. This efficiency makes HWRs particularly attractive for countries aiming to reduce costs and dependence on enriched uranium.

Heavy Water Reactors are known for their robust design, which contributes to enhanced safety features. The use of heavy water allows the reactor to sustain a nuclear chain reaction with lower concentrations of fissile material. This characteristic not only lowers fuel costs but also reduces the production of long-lived radioactive waste compared to light water reactors.

Additionally, HWRs offer flexibility and reliability in operations. They can be refueled while still operational, leading to higher availability and capacity factors. The design efficiency, combined with the use of natural uranium, makes Heavy Water Reactors a versatile and sustainable option for nuclear power generation in various geopolitical and economic contexts.

Feel free to learn more about how Heavy Water Reactors can play a pivotal role in the clean energy landscape on our dedicated sustainability pages.