Re­port calls for build­ing in­land nu­clear power sta­tions

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By WU WENCONG

wuwen­cong@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China should vig­or­ously de­velop nu­clear en­ergy and restart the plan to build nu­clear power sta­tions in­land to re­duce the na­tion’s high en­ergy con­sump­tion per unit of gross do­mes­tic prod­uct and clear smog and haze, said a re­port re­leased on Thurs­day.

The Re­port on the De­vel­op­ment of China’s Eco-Cities (2014), pro­duced by the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences, said China’s pri­mary en­ergy con­sump­tion in 2012 was 3.62 bil­lion met­ric tons of stan­dard coal, or 20 per­cent of the world’s to­tal con­sump­tion.

China cre­ates 14,000 yuan ($2,250) of GDP when burn­ing one ton of stan­dard coal. The fig­ure is the equiv­a­lent of 25,000 yuan for the global aver­age, 31,000 yuan for the Unites States, and 50,000 yuan for Ja­pan, the re­port said.

It pro­vided the rank­ing of 116 ma­jor Chi­nese cities based on their en­ergy con­sump­tion per unit of GDP in 2012. Urumqi, cap­i­tal of the Xin­jiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gion, is at the bot­tom of the list, gen­er­at­ing only 4,184 yuan of GDP per ton of stan­dard coal. Huang­shan, An­hui prov­ince, tops the list at 22,371 yuan, which is still be­low the global aver­age.

China con­sumed about half of the world’s coal in 2012. Half of the con­sump­tion was at its ther­mal power sta­tions, a ma­jor dis­charger of air­borne pol­lu­tants. As for hy­dropower, the coun­try has al­ready de­vel­oped 46 per­cent of the 500 mil­lion kilowatts that is con­sid­ered the to­tal that can be ex­ploited.

In con­se­quence, the re­port sug­gests restart­ing the plan to build nu­clear power sta­tions in­land and re­duc­ing the num­ber of ther­mal power sta­tions to achieve greener ur­ban­iza­tion.

“Set­ting up nu­clear re­ac­tors only along the coast can­not ful­fill in­land cities’ grow­ing thirst for green en­ergy and the sus­tain­abil­ity of the power net­work dur­ing ex­treme weather,” said Chen Xiao­qiu, deputy chief en­gi­neer of the Nu­clear and Ra­di­a­tion Safety Cen­ter in the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion.

Chen said de­vel­op­ing in­land nu­clear power plants would be an ef­fec­tive method for op­ti­miz­ing en­ergy dis­tri­bu­tion and should be con­sid­ered a ne­ces­sity for clear­ing smog and im­prov­ing air qual­ity in many re­gions.

How­ever, some ex­perts strongly op­pose the idea of de­vel­op­ing in­land nu­clear power sta­tions. Wang Yinan, a re­searcher at the State Coun­cil’s De­vel­op­ment Re­search Cen­ter, said the lat­est re­search has noted that a lack of cool­ing wa­ter is a ma­jor con­straint on op­er­at­ing nu­clear sta­tions in Europe and the United States.

This prob­lem could be even tougher for such a thirsty coun­try as China, whose per capita share of fresh­wa­ter re­sources is one­fourth of the world aver­age, Wang wrote in an ar­ti­cle pub­lished in April in China En­ergy News.

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