Nuclear power generation rising in leading Asian countries

With rising power demand, countries in Asia are increasing output and diversifying their energy mix, including nuclear power generation.

With rising power demand, countries in Asia are increasing output and diversifying their energy mix, including nuclear power generation. Facing rapid industrialization, Asian superpowers like China and India are expected to continue to grow their nuclear power sectors to keep up with energy consumption. Despite its history with reactors, Japan is also expected to restore nuclear power as a main source of energy in the country.

Major energy firms in China have recently decided to merge to increase development of nuclear power technologies, Barrons reported. State Power Investment Corp., the result of the merger between State Nuclear Power Technology and China Power Investment Corp., will control more than $112.6 billion in assets.

Additionally, CGN Power and China National Nuclear Corp. may also merge to avoid being overtaken in the nuclear power industry.

With these newly formed entities, they will likely have more assets for research and development of more effective nuclear power technologies that could lead to greater export opportunities for Chinese companies. This could mark a rise of nuclear in its energy mix after oil, gas and coal dominated its portfolio. China is known for its petroleum and other liquids production, ranking No. 4 in the world for thousands of barrels per day produced in 2014, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

With strong support from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India will likely to witness swift growth in the nuclear power sector, DNA India reported. Last year, Modi said that he backs the Department of Atomic Energy's plans to expand nuclear power generation.

During his time in office, Modi helped remove barriers to foreign and domestic investments in the nuclear power market.

By 2020, India is projected to have a nuclear power capacity of 14,600 megawatts, according to the World Nuclear Association. About 25 percent of its energy may come from nuclear by 2050 as it invests in technologies like fast reactors and thorium fuel cycle.

To achieve this goal, India may partner with China in a civil nuclear energy cooperation, Indian Express reported. In September 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping traveled to India to meet with Modi to discuss the initiative between the two countries.

"As large developing countries committed to promoting the use of clean energy, India and China believe that expansion of civil nuclear energy program is an essential component of their national energy plans to ensure energy security," Modi and Xi said.

In 2011, Japan suffered one of the worst global nuclear disasters in its history after the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Despite the incident, Japan plans to increase nuclear power to produce 20 to 22 percent of its energy by 2030, Reuters reported. This is lower than before the disaster when nuclear power accounted for almost 30 percent of Japan's power generation. A consulting committee reinforced the government's decision to restart its nuclear reactors following safety checks.

Japan aims to generate 27 percent of its power from liquefied natural gas and 26 percent from coal to fill in energy gaps left from the lack of nuclear power.

More information on nuclear power in China can be found on PennEnergy's research area.

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