China Will Still Go Massively Nuclear but Don’t Want Western Reactor Technology
China was planning to use Westinghouse AP1000 and french EPR (Evolutionary Power Reactor) nuclear reactors. China normally completes nuclear reactors in 4-5 years and at a half or a third of the price of nuclear construction in the USA and Europe. China just finished its first EPR reactor but it was five years late and about double the budget. China has also completed several AP1000 reactors but there delays and budget overruns there as well. Westinghouse and Toshiba went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2017.
There are some who believe that a pause in China’s licensing of nuclear reactors is a shift in China away from nuclear power. Nextbigfuture believes that is incorrect. China still needs hundreds of nuclear reactors. China will double its electrical power generation or more by 2050.
China will not be using oil, gas and coal as its main power because of massive air pollution problems. Air pollution kills over 1 million people per year in China and costs 7% of China’s GDP in damage to crops and buildings.
China imports 70% of its oil. This is a massive geopolitical strategic vulnerability. Oil dependence was a primary reason for the German loss in WW2.
The pause in nuclear reactor licensing is while China sorts out the reliable nuclear technologies that they will be able to build at scale. China will still be doubling its energy production. China already produces about the same amount of electricity as the USA and Europe combined. China will go 100% electric cars and other vehicles over the next 20 years.
China Will Build Deep Pool Nuclear Reactors for Heating
China will more than double its current nuclear power by adding deep pool nuclear reactors for heating.
CNNC, CGN and SPIC have announced concepts for low-temperature district heating reactors. Development of these acknowledges the role of heating in air pollution, particularly PM2.5 particulates, which are reported to be more than ten times higher in winter.
CGN – The NHR200-II reactor is a low-temperature district heating reactor. Its design is described by CGN as “mature”, having passed the National Nuclear Safety Administration review in the 1990s. In February 2018 it was announced that CGN and Tsinghua University were carrying out a feasibility study on constructing China’s first district heating nuclear plant using the NHR200-II design.
CNNC – The District Heating Reactor-400 (DHR-400) or ‘Yanlong’ is a low-temperature 400 MW pool-type reactor. It is designed to provide heat at 90°C for up to 200,000 three-bedroom apartments. The reactor prototype achieved 168 hours of continuous heat supply in November 2017 – seen by its developers, CNNC, as the first major step towards commercialization of the design.
SPIC – The Advanced Happy200 is similar to the Yanlong, 200 MW and producing hot water at 110°C. Pre-feasibility studies suggest first commissioning in 2022.
China is developing molten salt nuclear reactors and has started building some Russian nuclear reactors. China is also building Russian breeder reactors.