Wang Dazhong, a renowned nuclear energy scientist, was awarded the State Preeminent Science and Technology Award for 60 years of dedication to the development of nuclear energy technology, and for helping advance China's scientific, economic and national defense strengths.
Wang, who is also an academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, led the research, design and operation of China's first 5MW Low Temperature Nuclear Heating Reactor (NHR-5) and later of its 10MW High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor (HTR-10). Both bolstered the inherent safety of nuclear energy, as well as the application of clean energy.
Wang said that his award belongs to all hardworking SciTech workers and that "scientific research is a noble cause, worthy of a lifetime of pursuit".
Likening scientific research to climbing mountains, he said that the road to success is full of difficulties and risks and requires the ability to analyze problems, the courage to explore "no man's land", and resilience in the face of failure.
"Our nation is in its best period of development. Scientific self-reliance is a strategic support for national development. All SciTech workers should dedicate themselves to self-reliance and innovation in science and technology, which is an important way to show love for our motherland," he added.
Wang's engagement in nuclear energy began in the 1950s. In 1955, the Chinese government outlined a strategic plan to develop nuclear energy. Consequently, Tsinghua University set up its Department of Engineering Physics in 1956. Wang was one of the first batch of students to specialize in nuclear reactor studies.
Following Three Mile Island in the US in 1979 and Chernobyl in the Soviet Union in 1986, scientists all over the world have worked hard to ensure that reactors are made "inherently safe", meaning that they do not rely on countermeasures powered by external (and hence potentially fallible) resources to remain stable.