China To Build Tons Of New Nuclear Reactors To Get Country ‘Back On Track’


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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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China plans to build a slew of nuclear reactors over the next few years to meet its economic and environmental goals, according to the state-controlled China Daily.

“The pace of nuclear power projects in recent years is not in accordance with this target, and it’s necessary to make sure the nuclear industry is back on track,” He Yu, chairman of state-owned China General Nuclear Power, said at a Beijing conference.

China plans to triple the amount of nuclear power it generates by 2026, which would overtake the U.S. as the country with the most nuclear power, according to a study by analytics firm BMI Research. China will spend $570 billion building more than 60 nuclear power plants over the next decade.

China intends to bring 58 gigawatts of nuclear generating capacity into operation by 2020, up from the current capacity of roughly 27 gigawatts, according to World Nuclear News. China plans to follow this up with 150 gigawatts of nuclear power by 2030, according to the World Nuclear Association.

In comparison, the U.S. is expected to have 100 gigawatts of nuclear power in 2030.

China intends to have more than 350 gigawatts of nuclear power by 2050, spending over a trillion dollars in nuclear investment. A gigawatt of power provides enough energy for roughly 700,000 homes.

China also plans to build advanced molten salt reactors, a concept developed in the U.S. but abandoned in the 1970s. Federal regulations make the concept difficult to re-embrace.

China currently operates 30 nuclear reactors, providing 2.5 percent of the country’s electricity. China plans to build another 24 reactors and will accelerate construction of a large commercial scale reprocessing plant to reprocess spent nuclear fuel.

Globally, installed nuclear capacity is expected to grow 60 percent by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency, while American capacity will likely only grow by 16 percent over the same time period.

Of the 59 new nuclear reactors under construction worldwide to help meet increasing demand for electricity, only four of them are being built in the America — just enough to compensate for shutting down aging nuclear reactors.

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