China is set to become Asia’s nuclear powerhouse as it is predicted to surpass South Korea and Russia in generating energy capacity by 2020.
The country has been increasing its nuclear output in recent years which, according to new analysis, it plans to leverage so it can take an “ownership role” throughout the entire supply chain.
Data from the EIA (Energy Information Administration) shows nuclear output currently makes up slightly more than 2% of the country’s total power generation.
However the Chinese government has revealed it wants to reach a goal of at least 15% of energy consumption from non-fossil fuel sources – including nuclear – hydroelectricity and other renewable resources.
By the end of this year, it means China’s output will grow at such a pace that it will find itself placed only behind the US and France.
An additional 23 gigawatts of nuclear capacity is also being constructed to become operational in the next five years.
The EIA said: “All of China’s nuclear plants are located along the east coast and southern parts of the country, near most of the country’s power demand.
“Following Japan’s coastal Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, China has increasingly considered construction of inland reactors.
“China plans to take an ownership role throughout the entire nuclear supply chain.
“China intends to build strategic and commercial uranium stockpiles through overseas purchases and continue to develop domestic production in Inner Mongolia (north Central China) and Xinjiang (northwest China).
“China is developing nuclear fuel reprocessing facilities, which are expected to come online by 2017, according to the World Nuclear Association.
“China currently imports all of its reactor technology, but the country is in the process of designing its own large pressurized water reactors, the CAP1400, through a technology transfer with US-based Westinghouse. “
The EIA said China had also signed agreements with several countries including Romania, Argentina, Turkey and South Africa last year to help finance construction of nuclear reactors and export its own nuclear technology.