The Middle Kingdom currently has 12 operational plants generating 12 gigawatts accounting for 2.3% of the country?s power. Another 23 are currently under construction. It plans to add ten a year for the next decade, taking them up to 70 Gigawatts by 2020, and a staggering 400 gigawatts by 2050.
That?s nearly the total power generated in China today. This will make China the world?s largest consumer of yellow cake (U3H8) for fuel. Canadian, American, and Australian uranium miners please take note.
The goal is to meet the country?s insatiable demand for more electricity, as well as making a major dent in new greenhouse gases contributing to global warming. The China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group in the Southern part of the country is using imported French designs with proven track records. But the China National Nuclear Corporation in the North is using riskier Russian designs, and its president was recently arrested on corruption charges (see below). China plans to start using solely its own designs in the near future.
One wonders if these plants will perform as badly as the country?s poorly constructed school buildings when an earthquake hits. As nuclear plants are sited next to major cities, an accident could make Chernobyl look like a cake walk.