Can the Chinese nuclear expansion be safe ?

To Yale Environment 360 : “In the wake of the Fukushima meltdowns, some nations are looking to move away from nuclear power. But not China, which is proceeding with plans to build 36 reactors over the next decade.

Now some experts are questioning whether China can safely operate a host of nuclear plants.” Indeed, building so many reactors in such a little time seems dangerous, especially if as the article goes :

” The International Energy Agency suggests that 30 new nuclear reactors must be built each year between now and 2050 to cut CO2 emissions in half.

(It might be even more as they strongly believe in CCS and it isn’t really successful…)

China has had a recent history of fast progress finally ending badly. The recent high speed train accident comes to mind. So, can the People’s Republic safely build and operate scores of reactors in such a little time ?

If the recent accident in Fukushima proved one thing is that we got to take nuclear very very VERY seriously and that one tiny mistake can have HUGE repercussions.

I am not sure the Chinese alone can build so many reactors in such a little time. A similar scenario to what occured in Zhejiang province would be more than disastrous…

Likewise, can the world build so many reactors in such a little time ? I think France did it ? Could we do it again ? I believe so. With strong watchdogs, and increased security measures. Improved reactors like the EPR come to mind…

(Nota: NO, this doesn’t change my opinion regarding nuclear, I am still favorable to it. But it has to be very well taken care of…)

Edouard

Edouard is a sustainability and energy professional committed to bringing our societies to a carbon neutral future. He has been writing on related topics on this very blog since 2007.

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2 Responses

  1. Olivier J says:

    Considering:
    – corruption
    – bureaucracy
    – collusion between some high-ranked individuals
    – …

    The moratorium on nuclear announced by the PRC after Fukushima would have been a bad joke…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/aug/25/wikileaks-fears-china-nuclear-safety

  2. Edouard says:

    You omit : ” choosing old technologies instead of new ones “…

    Anyway, many many thanks for this most interesting article ! My fears were – most unfortunately – founded :/

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