China's Nuclear Leadership

Last Tuesday the Wall Street Journal reported that China “has just become the first in the world to put the latest generation of nuclear power technology into use,  as a power plant with two new reactors started commercial operations in the eastern province of Shandong.”

“The new plant uses fourth-generation reactors, which are considered to be safer and more fuel efficient by an international consortium of nuclear countries. The consortium has approved six types of such reactors, and China is trying to build all of them. Western countries aren’t expected to start bringing their own fourth-generation nuclear plants online until the early 2030s.”

“China is now building 22 of the 58 reactors under construction around the world, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The country currently operates 55 reactors.

Back in 2010 I wrote in a column “By 2022 new Generation IV nuclear systems ought to be on line. With the Vermont Yankee site’s good location, 125 acres, rail spur, cooling towers, switchyard, security, shops, and land use permits intact, what better place [than Vermont Yankee’s site] to site an Integrated Fast Reactor, coupled with a pyroprocessing facility to recover the 95% of energy stored in spent fuel rods? Or a high temperature Pebble Bed Modular Reactor, whose very hot steam facilitates efficient electrolysis to produce hydrogen for our non-polluting fuel cell vehicles?”

But of course deep green Vermont couldn’t even think about such an awful thing.

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