China is adding nuclear, hydroelectric, wind and solar power at an unrivaled pace.
- April 20, 2010
- In 2006, China passed the United States as the world’s top emitter of greenhouse gases; last year it exceeded U.S. investment in clean energy for the first time, with a total of $34.6 billion. Driving that investment are air pollution, which has reached choking levels in Chinese cities, and a strong desire to meet a voracious appetite for energy through domestic sources. Not only is the country adding nuclear, hydroelectric, wind, and solar power at an unrivaled pace, but it’s fast becoming a proving ground for next-generation energy technologies that have stalled elsewhere.
China has 22 nuclear reactors under construction, with a combined capacity of 23 gigawatts. Two-thirds of these, including this one at Fuqing on China’s southeastern coast, use a homegrown design based on France’s existing light-water reactors. Li Ganjie, director of China’s National Nuclear Safety Administration, recently warned that “overrapid expansions” could diminish reactor quality and safety.