Double or Quits: The Future of Civil Nuclear Energy

Double or Quits? The Future of Civil Nuclear Energy
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Double or Quits?: The Future of Civil Nuclear Energy

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India has a long way to go to meet its In , it had 6. Nuclear technology is being embraced across Asia as countries with and without current nuclear facilities announce plans for the construction of new plants. Asia is already a front-runner for nuclear energy, with nearly two-thirds of current reactors located on the continent. This equates to reactors already in use, but a staggering 90 new reactors are planned, not including the 40 already under construction.

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The World Nuclear Association has released a new report detailing the progress being made in Asia, highlighting that of the ten reactors that came online in nine were in East Asia. Countries with pre-existing nuclear facilities are leading the movement, with the fastest expansion happening in China, Japan, India and South Korea.


Print Page 3. Naturally, there has been tension, including within the government itself, and notably from political and industrial groups that favour promotion of renewable energy, mainly biomass and hydroelectric power. International Atomic Energy Agency Country nuclear power profiles. Most users should sign in with their email address. Please turn this functionality on or check if you have another program set to block cookies.

But where are these new plants and who is making the most progress? The reactors at Fangjiashan, Fuqing, Hongyanhe, Ningde, Changjiang, Fangchenggang and two at Yangjiang, brought the total number of functioning nuclear facilities up to 34, providing a total net capacity of There are a further 21 reactors currently under construction in China, which will see an extra In , China opened up its reactor approvals for the first time since In , China set a target to hit 58GW of nuclear capacity by Despite significant increases, it seems likely with current reactors and construction to reach just 51GW.

This shortfall is predominantly due to the post-Fukushima period of to when no reactors were approved.

One frequently touted benefit is safety, because thorium reactors should be less prone to meltdowns. Conventional nuclear is already economically unconvincing, he says, so adding the cost of developing thorium-friendly reactors and complex fuel reprocessing is untenable.

While the presence of U means thorium waste is more hazardous in the short-term, its particular mix of isotopes are less hazardous over longer periods due to the amount and type of radiation it releases. Perhaps the most compelling advantage is the difficulty of weaponising it, he adds. U can make atomic bombs but the complex processing makes it unattractive. The nuclear establishment is loath to abandon a longstanding flagship program. India is trying to meet booming energy demands while weaning itself off a chronic coal addiction.

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But sun and wind are too intermittent to power the whole country. Whether self-sufficiency is necessary for energy security is up for debate.

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But global nuclear capacity has been in decline since the s and uranium is more prevalent than first thought. Besides its continuing work on wind and solar energy, the government approved construction for 12 new heavy-water reactors to add to the 22 in operation and 9 under construction. But given its progress so far, Parks thinks thorium makes sense as a long-term hedge for India.