China moves cautiously ahead on nuclear energy

Source:Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

By Hui Zhang and Shangui Zhao

Article Highlights

  • Following the Fukushima Daiichi accident, China slowed its rapid expansion of nuclear power and undertook a major reevaluation of safety practices.
  • In the last two years China has introduced strict and comprehensive new safety standards for nuclear power plants.
  • For the new safety standards to be effective, China should streamline the regulatory and legal framework governing nuclear power.

From 2005 to 2011, China rapidly developed its nuclear power capacity. In 2010 alone, it began operations at two new reactors and broke ground on 10 more, accounting for more than 60 percent of new reactor construction worldwide and making the Chinese nuclear industry by far the fastest-growing in the world. By the end of 2010, China had 14 nuclear reactors in operation with a total capacity of about 11 gigawatts electric, or GWe. That was still a relatively small amount -- in contrast, the United States had 104 commercial reactors with a total capacity of about 100 GWe in 2010 -- but China was pursuing ambitious plans to rapidly expand.

Then came the tsunami and earthquake that led to Japan's Fukushima Daiichi meltdown in March 2011, the world's worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. After Fukushima, China changed course dramatically, slowing the pace of nuclear development to focus on safety. The slower pace is reassuring, but to really be a leader on nuclear safety, China should speed up the adoption of new laws on nuclear energy and enhance the independence and authority of nuclear safety regulators.

Continue here: China moves cautiously ahead on nuclear energy

Did You Like this Article? Get All the Energy Industry News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to an email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now

Whitepapers

Maximizing Operational Excellence

In a recent survey conducted by PennEnergy Research, 70% of surveyed energy industry professional...

Leveraging the Power of Information in the Energy Industry

Information Governance is about more than compliance. It’s about using your information to drive ...

Reduce Engineering Project Complexity

Engineering document management presents unique and complex challenges. A solution based in Enter...

Revolutionizing Asset Management in the Electric Power Industry

With the arrival of the Industrial Internet of Things, data is growing and becoming more accessib...

Latest PennEnergy Jobs

PennEnergy Oil & Gas Jobs