An anonymous reader share a report: To wean their country off oil and gas imports and in hopes of decommissioning polluting coal-fired power plants, Chinese leaders have been pouring money into wind and solar power. But they are also turning to one of the most sustainable forms of non-renewable energy. Over the past decade, China has added 37 nuclear reactors, for a total of 55, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, a United Nations body. During the same period, America, which is the world leader with 93 reactors, added two.
Faced with ever-increasing energy demand, China is not letting up. It aims to install between six and eight nuclear reactors each year. Some officials seem to think this goal is weak. The country’s nuclear regulator says China has the capacity to add between eight and 10 per year. The State Council (China’s cabinet) has approved the construction of ten nuclear reactors in 2022. In total, China has 22 nuclear reactors under construction, far more than any other country. The growth of nuclear energy has stalled in Western countries for several reasons. Reactors require a large initial investment and take years to build. The industry is heavily regulated.
China, however, has paved the way for nuclear power by providing state-owned energy companies with cheap loans, as well as land and licenses. Nuclear energy suppliers benefit from subsidies called feed-in tariffs. All of this has driven down the price of nuclear power in China to around $70 per megawatt hour, compared with $105 in the United States and $160 in the European Union, according to the International Energy Agency, an official forecaster. . China is not immune to the security concerns that have led many in the West to oppose nuclear power. After the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in 2011, China temporarily suspended its construction program. He maintained the ban on domestic nuclear power plants, which must use river water for cooling. Earlier this year, China reacted angrily when Japan began discharging treated and completely harmless wastewater from the Fukushima plant into the ocean.