The recent disaster in Fukushima, Japan has demonstrated that atomic power is a form of energy supply coming with high risks attached which cannot be fully controlled. Now China is starting into on a nuclear future and my recent visit made me aware of the scale of the operation. To quote some numbers:
"Mainland China has 14 nuclear power reactors in operation, more than 25 under construction, and more about to start construction soon.
Additional reactors are planned, including some of the world's most advanced, to give more than a ten-fold increase in nuclear capacity to at least 80 GWe by 2020, 200 GWe by 2030, and 400 GWe by 2050.
China is rapidly becoming self-sufficient in reactor design and construction, as well as other aspects of the fuel cycle." [source]
|Urban nuclear energy in Beijing, China. Beijing' s CBD is the conglomerate of darker buildings in the right rear.|
"China is embarking on the world's biggest and fastest expansion of nuclear power. The world must pray the industry will somehow prove immune to the curse of corner cutting, secrecy and corruption – or the potential consequences are chilling." [source]
With China becoming a nuclear nation there is growing concern of how safe the industry may be. The recent train accident in Wenzhou province has sparked a fierce controversy and some connect the mistakes made within the railway administration to possible flaws in the nuclear power sector.
If future events could be wished for like christmas presents, there are two things to write on a wish list:
That China's leaders know the responsibility and risks attached to nuclear power and take the industry serious enough.
That China's expansion of green energy will be more successful and faster that the expansion of nuclear power.