How China became the fastest expanding nuclear producer
This week the International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st century begun and whilst some countries are introducing nuclear for the first time, others are expanding their nuclear resources.
China currently has 38 reactors in operation with a further 19 planned to be active in the next few years. Nuclear development within China has increased more than ten times since 2000 with an additional five nuclear plants planned to be operational within this year alone. The rapid progress and proposed construction plans place China as the fastest-growing nuclear power developer in the world.
Zheng Mingguang, The President of the Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute in Shanghai (SNERDI) highlights that a combination of high energy demands and available land space is driving the rapid development of nuclear energy.
Zheng Mingguang believes China has created an efficient and financially feasible system for the development of nuclear power. Creating an effective platform for design, manufacturing, safety, and construction have enabled the nuclear industry to grow sustainably within China.
China sands well at the top of fastest-growing nuclear industries worldwide, followed by Russia and India. USA, France, and Japan are currently the leading countries for the highest number of nuclear plants in operation.
With expanding populations and high energy demands, China is faced with the challenge of reducing its reliance on the coal industry. The Nuclear development is expanding across the more affluent and developed coastline of the south-east. The Nuclear plan aims to meet energy demands and at the same time increase its overall energy security as well as reduce its reliance on both the coal and oil industries.
China is currently working on a range of new nuclear plants, some of which are advanced models. The nuclear industry is observing the developments in China closely, particularly with new reactor models such as the AP1000 reactors in Sanmen and Hiayang.
With new, advanced reactors becoming operational in China, further countries could follow suit and if successful, could replicate the development plans implemented in China elsewhere.
The National Energy Administration which regulates the Chinese energy market is forecasted to set a nuclear capacity target of over 120 GW by 2030.
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