Thursday, December 16, 2004

China Goes Nuclear

China's booming economy is requiring an ever expanding supply of fuel. Given the rising demand and price of oil and other fossil fuels, it makes sense to consider the nuclear option. Since China is far less dependent on public opinion (understatement alert) than the US, the nuclear option can move ahead quickly.

MSNBC picks up the Reuters report that:
China has big plans for nuclear power, hoping to build 27 new reactors at a cost of $1 billion each in order to quadruple capacity by 2020.

That should take China to 36,000 megawatts, according to Zhang Huazhu, chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority.

“It is not easy to realize the target of 36,000 megawatts by 2020. It means we should build 27 nuclear power generators each with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts by then,” said Zhang, also vice minister of the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense.

With nine nuclear power generators in operation, China had a total nuclear power capacity of 7,010 megawatts by the end of July, he said.

Capability would reach 9,130 megawatts by the end of 2005 when the Tianwan plant in the eastern province of Jiangsu came online, Zhang said.

He said the goal is for nuclear power to account for about 4 percent of China’s total output by 2020 compared with just 1.7 percent at present.

$27 billion dollars invested into nuclear power in one fell swoop. Wow.

Barring a major breakthrough in alternate fuels, the nuclear options is looking more and more like a necessity rather than a luxury.