Scale of China’s dirty and deadly air and water problems means both nuclear and renewables are needed

China’s anti-air and water pollution plan has 2020 targets:

* ‘good-air days’ reach over 80 percent annually
* Over 70% of the surface water to be drinkable
* around 70 percent of the country’s offshore area water should be of good quality.

Currently about 60% of China’s water is not safe for human contact.

There was a China Dialogue article in March 2018, that speculated that China was losing interest in nuclear power in favor of renewables. The scale of China’s air and water environmental problems means nuclear has to help renewables to more quickly displace coal. Even though natural gas is only half as dirty as coal, natural gas is also part of the solution. Also, just making coal more efficient with higher temperature plants. Less deadly coal is also part of China’s multi-decade plan.

China energy and environment plans are run by engineers.

China had to use coal to get out of poverty. Now they will use any technology to clean things up while maintaining economic progress.

The US and UK fixed the most visibly bad water and air problems from the 1950s to the 1980s. There are still air pollution problems but they are less in your face.

Air pollution from fossil fuels is still 100 times more deadly than power from nuclear and renewables. Because the Air and Water in the US looks good, then pro-solar people can talk about being anti-nuclear. This is in spite of nuclear still providing far more clean energy than solar and wind.

Air pollution still causes sickness and death in the US and other developed countries.

The US lung association provides an annual state of the air report.

China’s latest environmental guidelines are here. (in chinese)

China’s currently has about 1.6 million premature deaths a year due to pollution.

China currently has 39 nuclear power reactors in operation, with another 20 currently under construction, and plans for more reactors. The 13th Five-Year Plan for power production released by the National Energy Administration (NEA), nuclear is expected to provide 8 to 10 percent of China’s electricity needs by 2030. This would be about 115-150 GW of nuclear power.

China’s electricity consumption is projected to range from 7,584 TWh (~5830 kWh per capita) to 11,154 TWh (~8580 kWh per capita) in 2030. This will be about 40% more than power to double current power levels. It is about the combined electrical power of the US and Europe to almost triple the power level of the USA.

By 2035, China wants the environment to be “fundamentally improved” fundamentally and to have a healthy environment and low pollution by 2050.

China has started to generate power from its first AP1000 reactor.

Due to delays with nuclear reactors using technology from the US and Europe. China has approved four more reactors using Russian technology.