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China Gets Even More Ambitious with Nuclear Plans

Last September, Chinese officials announced that they would build 27 new nuclear plants by 2020. (Earlier post.) Now officials have upped that number to 40.

The People’s Daily reports that Zhang Fubao, an official with the Commission of Science Technology and Industry for National Defense, stated that the 40 nuclear plants would have a combined generation capacity of 36 million to 40 million kilowatts or 4% of the total capacity in place in 15 years.

China has 11 reactors currently operating that deliver less than 2% of China’s electricity and four planned and under construction.

Earlier in the week, Anne Lauvergeon, president of France-based Areva Group,  the world’s largest nuclear engineering firm, said that the company will expand its research and development commitment in China. (Xinhua)

It’s easy to see why—that’s a phenomenal commitment.

The forcing issue for China is, of course, electrical demand.

According to the World Nuclear Association, while forecasts for annual growth in electricity demand in China were only 4.3%, growth by early 2004 was 16%, giving rise to severe power shortages.

China also recently began construction on a massive coal-fired generation plant in central China. The Baoshan Thermal Power Plant in Henan Province consists of two 660 MW  generators to supply electricity to the central China grid. (Xinhua)



So the Chinese, known human rights violators and who are working towards annexing Taiwan are allowed to have nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons, but anyone else trying to develop them is part of an "Axis of Evil." Indeed, the Chinese are our most favored trading partner, while we have embargos against other nations.

How can people make this little sense and not have their heads explode?

richard schumacher

Our challenge is to devise a way for anyone to use nuclear power generation but not weapons.

Rob McMillin

Paul -- two reasons:

1) historical precedent (they had nukes anyway), and
2) the Chinese are not, in general, terrorists and can be negotiated with.

The Chinese may not like us very much, but they aren't run by theological nutcases (Iran) or ideological ones (N. Korea).

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