by Axios | 8.16.18
Countable asks: Should the U.S. follow China's lead by moving away from coal toward cleaner, lower-carbon fuels, including nuclear? Why or why not? Hit Take Action to tell your reps, then share your thoughts below. (Via: Axios)
If China achieves the targets outlined in its Energy Development Strategy Action Plan, it will become the world's nuclear energy leader and fundamentally change the global trajectory of the nuclear power industry.
Data: World Nuclear Association; Note: Output of currently operable reactors measured in net MWe (electrical megawatts), while output of future reactors measured in gross MWe; Graphic: Harry Stevens/Axios
The big picture: It's not a foregone conclusion that China will follow through on its plans, especially with the public resistance stemming from the 2011 Fukushima meltdown in Japan. But if Xi Jinping and his administration decide to press on, China will be solidly on track to dominate the nuclear landscape.
The backdrop: In 2005, China began planning an aggressive increase in nuclear generating capacity, with a 15-year trajectory in mind. That has the country's energy future set to reach a crossroads in 2020, when the Communist Party will craft its 14th Five Year Plan.
The other side: Hibbs, who is the author of "The Future of Nuclear Power in China," also said that when China came up with its nuclear plans in 2005, they were based on three key assumptions.
In 2018, none of those assumptions are safe. And while the government has pledged to clean its air by transitioning away from fossil fuels, the alternative is currently more expensive and could cause more than 5 million coal miners to lose their jobs.
The bottom line: China must consider these challenges and more as it hurtles toward the 2020 nexus. But if the country succeeds in surmounting the political risks and commercializing advanced nuclear systems, there will be a push worldwide to generalize these achievements beyond China's borders.
Written by Axios
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