The Chinese state is playing a key role in the UK’s nuclear power ambitions, too
The People’s Republic of China is set to build around 40 domestic nuclear power plants over the next five years, the country’s Government has said.
The country’s 13th five year plan period, running from 2016 to 2020, includes provisions for building six to eight new nuclear power plants a year.
If all goes according to plan, the country will aim to increase its output to ten plants a year past 2020.
British energy policymakers will be eyeing China’s domestic nuclear power programme with interest after the country’s government signed a deal to finance the next generation of UK nuclear power.
Chinese Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping signed the £40bn UK deal as part of a series of investment accords in a visit to the UK in October.
Mainland China currently has 30 nuclear power reactors in operation and 22 under construction, according to the World Nuclear Association.
A three-fold increase in generating capacity is planned by 2020-21, with the part aim of reducing reliance on coal and the air pollution it causes.
Nuclear power does not release carbon or particulates into the atmosphere. It however creates toxic and mildly radioactive waste which must be stored indefinitely at significant cost. Clean-up costs for nuclear power stations are also high and often hidden from initial estimates.
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