Has China forgotten what happened in Fukushima, Japan? Apparently, yes! I have been near the Nuclear area – it wasn’t pretty…
But only a small number will be launched by 2015 and all of them will be located at coastal sites.
Prior to the Fukushima disaster, some energy officials indicated China would embark on as manyas 40 nuclear energy projects during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), and at least seven inlandprovinces applied to host plants.
In contrast, according to a statement released on the government website on Wednesday, Chinawill resume construction of nuclear power plants “in a steady and orderly way” and “at areasonable pace”.
Two programs – the national plan for nuclear power security (2011-20) and nuclear powerdevelopment (2011-20) – were approved on Wednesday at an executive meeting of the StateCouncil chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao. A national energy development program up to 2015 wasalso approved.
All new nuclear reactors must comply with the highest international safety standards, according tothe plans.
He Jiankun, director of the Institute of Low Carbon Economy at Tsinghua University, said nuclearpower strikes a balance between an increasing thirst for energy and the need to cut greenhousegas emissions. “Nuclear energy is irreplaceable,” he said.
China’s competitiveness will be compromised if it rejects nuclear power or if it fails to use the latestnuclear technology, he said.
The choice of a site for a nuclear power station “must be based on thorough scientific research”.And there must be adequate assurances that under no circumstances would radioactive leakageoccur, he added.
China’s nuclear power generating capacity accounts for just 1.8 percent of its electricity, lowerthan the average 14 percent for countries that have nuclear power, according to a governmentwhite paper on energy policies that was also released on Wednesday.
“The development of nuclear power is significant for the optimization of China’s energy structureand will safeguard national energy security,” it said, adding China will continue to develop nuclearenergy in a “safe and highly efficient” way.
Safety is the priority, it said.
“China has conducted comprehensive and stringent security and safety checks following theFukushima nuclear accident. The results have proved that the safety of China’s nuclear power isguaranteed,” the white paper said.
The paper also addressed China’s increasing dependence on imported oil and said its low energyreserves continue to threaten energy security.
Robust economic growth in the past two decades has transformed the country from a net oilexporter to a major importer.
Experts said energy security and oil security are world issues that need global solutions.
“The world’s oil situation is changing with more geopolitical uncertainties,” Tsinghua University’s Hesaid. “The development of gas shale in the United States has alleviated its reliance on imported oiland lessened its interests in the Middle East.”
China needs to boost oil exploration, increase global cooperation and contribute to theestablishment of an international system of energy security, he said.
Per capita energy consumption in China is about one-third of that of developed countries but willgrow sharply, the white paper said.
Li Zuojun, an economist at the Institute of Resources and Environmental Policies with the StateCouncil’s Development Research Center, said China must promote low-carbon development.
Coal still accounts for about 70 percent of China’s energy consumption and about 80 percent of itselectricity production. Coal production was 3.18 billion metric tons in 2011 and the country aims tocurb that to around 3.9 billion tons by 2015, according to the 12th Five-Year Plan for the coalindustry.
“China’s energy consumption is highly reliant on abundant coal, which leads to seriousenvironmental problems,” Li said.
The country has set a target to enhance the proportion of non-fossil fuels in the overall primaryenergy mix to 15 percent by 2020, while it also plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit ofGDP by 40 to 45 percent from 2005 levels by 2020.
- China ends nuclear power moratorium (bigpondnews.com)
- China to approve new nuclear plants, ending moratorium after Fukushima (guardian.co.uk)
- China to give nod to new nuke plants after ban (thehimalayantimes.com)
- China to resume building nuclear plants (thehindu.com)
- China ends nuke plant ban set after Japan disaster (foxnews.com)
- China to approve new nuclear power plants (todayonline.com)
- China ends nuclear power moratorium (news.com.au)
- Construction of nuclear plants to resume in China (japandailypress.com)
- China to resume building nuclear plants (upi.com)
- China Resumes Nuclear Power Plant Construction (voanews.com)