Inland nuke plants crucial to energy future

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-9-29 0:48:02

The Chinese Academy of Engineering and the China Nuclear Energy Association have reportedly conducted a joint research report on the security of inland nuclear power plants. Upon the submission of their report, China will probably approve of the building of inland nuclear plants.

So far, more than 10 provinces have petitioned the central government to build nuclear plants. Thirty-one possible locations have managed to survive scrutiny, and some of them have even been already approved by senior authorities.

Inland nuclear plants have been a controversial topic in China for a long time. Although the technology permits, questions are still haunting society: Does China really need inland nuclear? Or "what can we do if they go wrong?" Worries have added impetus to the expansion of people's not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) sentiment. However, no matter how strong the opposition could be, the Chinese interior will probably see an increasing number of nuclear power plants.

The major cause is that China's colossal demand for electricity in the future cannot be met by the current capacity, and there is limited option for us to choose if not nuclear power. If China wants to become a medium-developed country by the middle of the century, its power generation capacity should double. Neither coal nor oil can shore up the need, so nuclear power is a forced choice.

The number of China's nuclear power plants, in contrast to France, is still at a low level. France has 19 nuclear power stations, whose capacity accounts for 75 percent of the entire generating capacity, while the ratio is only 2 percent in China, the lowest in industrialized countries.

Safety issues are one of the biggest concerns for the Chinese public. Theoretically speaking, nuclear power plants cannot be 100 percent safe from danger. But in reality, nuclear power plants are being increasingly protected with higher standards imposed.

What happened in Ukraine's Chernobyl and Japan's Fukushima plant are just exceptions.

The incidents have obviously frightened many countries, which temporarily paused the construction of new nuclear power plants. But the panic has not evolved into hysteria.

Since China has no other options, the endless discussions should come to an end. We need to focus on how to choose the right locations, and how to persuade society to accept it.

Publicity might be key to the development of inland nuclear power plants. How to relieve the psychological pressures of the masses and make them believe in the long-term benefits of developing nuclear power is essential to breaking this sentiment of NIMBYism.


Posted in: Editorial

blog comments powered by Disqus