China Will Still Go Massively Nuclear but Does Not 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.

125 thoughts on “China Will Still Go Massively Nuclear but Does Not Want Western Reactor Technology”

  1. Perhaps ‘shotty’ is what Lewis Carroll called a portmanteau version of two words, one of them being vulgar with an ‘i’ ???

  2. Not if the world comes to its senses, unless they’re replaced with better nukes, like the ones that can “eat” their “waste”.

  3. You have been getting your information from a source either of maximum ignorance or of Trumpery untruthfulness. The actual history of civilian reactors tell you that your house and your street contain more dangers than being next to a working reactor.
    I happen to agree with you that an MSR is inherently even safer than a PWR.
    All Molten Salt Reactors use uranium fuel. In the theoretical LFTR it is produced from the thorium.

  4. Yes, the reactors themselves was a cost. The land around the reactors is also a cost. BTW, the cost of containing the radiation is still ongoing.

  5. I remember the Fast Breeder program. It uses sodium as a coolant. They couldn’t get it to stop leaking. When on for years until they mercifully stopped it. Molten Salts reactors can burn waste. The one thing I have always loved about nuclear power is the ability of the engineers to always pick the worse solutions. My opinion about nuclear power is that when they have build a reactor that is cheap, long lived, inherently safe, and generate almost no waste we can start building reactors in bulk but not til then.

  6. The point is that the plutonium in a fuel rod that’s been long enough in a reactor to be considered “spent” is NOT suitable for a bomb. It has far too much plutonium 240, which is spontaneously fissile enough that your bomb might blow you out of the sky, without doing any damage below. There was quite a bit of learning done, to get plutonium enough for both a test AND a bomb, First they discovered that they needed boron-free graphite, then that the rods had to be taken out and processed after about three weeks of irradiation, and finally, that it would still blow itself uselessly to bits in anything bat the Fat Man super-simultaneous critical mass assembly device.
    By the way, where do you get the 98% figure? It seems unnecessarily expensive.

  7. Democracy only works if the populace is adequately informed and educated. I really, really like the idea of government of the people, by the people, for the people, but in most of the corporatist would-be-democratic world, the information and entertainment channels can put forth even the sort of belief uttered by Michael Douglas, that a meltdown could burn its way down or out until it met water, and a steam explosion would scatter deadly long lived radioactivity everywhere.
    In the first place, the chief energy source of the reactor is dead when the moderator boils off. In the second place the chief energy contribution to the meltdown is from the shortest lived isotopes.
    Third, as a matter of fact at the seemingly similar TMI, there were NO deaths, either immediate or delayed.

  8. Nope. Do the arithmetic. Actually, first look up the numbers. Try to check them. There are two reactors at Dungeness in Kent. It is possible, given enough rain, to grow willow trees in a “rotationally coppiced” fashion, where the stumps in one third of the plantation resprout after being cut, are allowed to grow a few stouter boles than if unpruned, for three years then harvested again. This is not merely “renewable” wood, it is being renewed.
    But a rough calculation reveals that the entire county would have to be in coppice to match the output of one Dungeness reactor.

  9. I doubt that it is valid to call it “our” technology by now. But in any case, my purple friend, Global Warming is World Wide, I do not care who uses whose technology to fight it.
    I do hate it that the USA had answers in both the 1960s and the 1980s, and Nixon pretty much got the first one abandoned, and Clinton and Kerry quite flatly closed down the second.
    Australia is on the stupid not-really-environmentalist Solar and Wind bandwagon, and is still burning coal and has a law against using nuclear. Note that even iif they replaced ALL of their coal burning with nuclear, but continued to mine as ,much coal as ever, and export it, somebody somewhere would still be burning it, and I’d still hold them responsible for the CO2 emissions.

  10. I reckon that the fissile material in depleted uranium is of very little consequence. The usefulness of depleted uranium is exactly like that of thorium. All of it can be made fissile by having it capture neutrons. The difference between uranium 233 from thorium 232, and plutonium 239 from uranium 238, is that the uranium isotope in a thermal neutron reactor is less likely than the plutonium isotope, to capture and waste a neutron by NOT fissioning.
    It is on the other hand quite well established that civilian reactor plutonium is really NOT something you’d bother to make a bomb with, if you were smart enough to do it.
    On the other hand, the possibility of extracting bomb grade uranium 233 from this or that version of a pure LFTR design seems to me quite hotly debatable.
    for a fast neutron molten salt reactor,

  11. I disagree with your idea of “high tech”. What kind of a heat engine you drive with the energy is irrelevant. Besides which, high pressure steam IS a gas, so a steam turbine is a gas turbine.
    The key difference between a coal/oxygen burner and a nuclear fission plant is that the first uses chemistry, dependent upon atomic electron shells.
    Nuclear fission releases the energy of proton mutual repulsion in the atom’s nucleus a thousand times closer to each other than the electrons are to the combined nucleus holding them. Owing to the inverse square law of electric fields, that means per gram that nuclear energy is a million times as concentrated as chemical.
    I regard my Raspberry Pi computer boards, the size of a hand, as far higher tech than the huge stuff I used to work with for IBM, the System/360.
    Also, the fact that a MSR does NOT require constant monitoring and mucking about with control rods, makes IT intrinsically higher tech than the solid ceramic fuel pellet stuff.

  12. As a Linux fan, I have declared my dislike of Microsoft. But strangely enough, I believe Gates is a fellow with at least as much moral benevolence as Andrew Carnegie.
    TerraPower’s first design was fast neutron, They have apparently switched to an MSR design. Both types in my estimation qualify as Gen IV.
    Without nuclear electricity, Elon Musk’s battery stuff is airy-fairy nonsense. Given enough peak power nuclear to provide inexpensive off-peak power, vehicular batteries might be a good idea.
    But anything, that pretends it can fix the capriciousness of wind and solar rubbish, is helping the fossil carbon industry that we need to eliminate. All Of It.
    And then we need clean nuclear power to supply the energy to get at least 100 ppm of CO2 OUT of the atmosphere.

  13. Needless complication. We could take all the deadly old dry storage nuclear waste that’s in big concrete containers in the USA, and build a great big frightening wall along about five miles of the US-Mexico border.
    Total nuclear “spent” fuel being wasted in the USA = 75 to 80 thousand tons, for the entire duration of civilian nuclear.
    Total solid waste from coal every year in the USA ~= 130 million tons.
    Other waste from coal, methane, and petroleum = hundreds of thousands of tons of very poisonous gases. and tens of millions of tons of CO2, dumped invisibly into the atmosphere.

  14. Not quite correct. The problem is the limitless ignorance of the courts when the charge is brought against nuclear. By far the most valuable thing destroyed by the tsunami-caused meltdowns at F. Daiichi was the clean energy capacity of the reactors themselves. Nobody died at the reactors, except for the poor soul who drowned in the tsunami that later killed the reactors. As for emissions, the radioactive da,age to the Pacific ocean is trifling compared with the additional CO2 that the substitute power has emitted.

  15. Strictly speaking, the energy measure is the kWh, kilowatt.hour, but even then your entirely valid comment is too kind to nuclear’s competitors!
    Per kWh, not counting the CO2 – which is poisonous to shelly organisms in the sea – nuclear is responsible for NO gaseous emissions, except to the extent of emissions from mining and refining the amazingly small amounts of uranium needed.
    If you take the so-called “renewables”, and drop the faulty arithmetic that counts kWh available when nobody needs them, and neglects the emissions cost of kWh drawn from elsewhere when it’s needed an’ the sun don’t shine an’ the wind don’t blow hard enough, then let us count the need for kW or MW of actual power.
    A dispatcher has to have power that isn’t already being used, ready at very short notice to meet an increase of load when many thousands of people in an interval of five minutes turn on appliances of a kilowatt each, like we find in a kitchen. The entire grid turns its voltage from positive to negative in a hundredth of a second or less, and the supply everywhere has to stay synchronised to that. Overloaded equipment slows down, which would cause little problem if they all did so at the same rate, but if not, some will cross the zero line while others remain behind, and for a brief time a hundred or 120 times a second, there is a short circuit between them.
    A 1200 MW collection of “wind farms”, whether delivering 1000 MW or a mere 100 MW, if the load goes up 20 MW, can provide not a watt

  16. The MSR companies point out that a wall of steel to hold in water at 300°C is a devil of a lot more expensive than near atmospheric pressure molten salt. There is a problem with FLiBe until very nearly isotopically pure lithium 7 is inexpensively available.
    It’s not the radioactivity of tritium that’s a problem when Li-6 fissions, it’s that your lithium fluoride becomes hydrogen fluoride.

  17. Radioactive waste is an utterly trivial matter, wickedly exaggerated to the benefit of the technologies that produce millions of times as much waste, and dump it poisonously into the atmosphere.
    Russia has a base-load size, 800 MWe, fast neutron reactor that can consume not just “nuclear waste”, but the ten times larger amount of wasted uranium in stock that is “depleted” of its fissile isotope.
    The USA had a better, successful, experimental size project, in the 1980s, and Clinton’s administration threw it away in 1994. Eight years earlier, in April 1986, the IFR EBR II had proven itself by deliberate test, idiot-proof meltdown-immune, three weeks before the infamously idiotic Chernobyl meltdown.

  18. Sure that will work but it requires some fissioning matter to keep the reaction going. So the acelerator (which we agree makes literally no sense) is really just about having a product story for how to get rid of waste without a fission reactor making more waste.

    Heck use a fusion source to make neutrons or just reprocess and use the “spent” fuel.

  19. They are building 20 reactors because of the time it takes and the cost. They will ramp up construction only if they have to.

    The are still more worried about the cost per $MW/hr than they are about the millions sick and dying from pollution.

  20. Nuclear reactors destroy value. Insurance companies won’t insure them because of their limitless potential to destroy value.

    Q: So what do you call a small nuclear reactor? A: A dirty bomb.

  21. I would guess that like most reliability issues, getting 3 9s of radioactive material control (we have kept full control and traceability of 99.9% of the starting mass after 20 years) is cheap as chips. Getting 4 9s (Have 99.99%) needs a bit of work.
    5 9s needs a full professional system.
    6 9s is actually a major project
    7 9s is hideously expensive

    8 9s is what the USA or Europe would require.

    China goes for 4 9s and manages 3.

    15 Chinese heating workers and their families die in year 10 because they’d taken some canisters home to heat their apartments “for free”.

    The death toll of 15 is still vastly less than what would previously have died from the coal burning. So China covers up their deaths and keeps going.

  22. I’m saying that China might be able to build these things, but that the logistics of controlling radioactive material at hundreds of sites will require a lot of resources. Those resources would be expensive in USA/EU. I wrote ‘developed world’ but meant the non-authoritarian world. Maybe China can pull it off.

  23. “This district heater is not a bad idea. It isn’t particularly practical logistically and it wouldn’t be cost effective in the developed world, but it’s a simple thing, and it would work.”

    Are you implying that it would be cost effective in the non-developed world? And surely China counts as developed this decade?

  24. Clearly we need a moratorium on ladder usage and manufacture until the inherently hazardous designs have been rectified.
    How long have these menaces been produced and been sold into our communities just to serve the almighty dollar.
    If only one child’s life is saved then the ban would be worth it.

  25. As if that really mattered. Since you are reprocessing anyway, just stick the remanufactured fuel in a fast reactor and irradiate it until it finally fissions – eventually, it will become something fissile (assuming you are worried about actinides). That particular method is called the irradiating the piss out of it; admittedly the reports are less interesting because no accelerator.

  26. The people who disrupt a market have nothing to do with the old market. SpaceX didn’t ask for ULA’s permission to make the Falcon 9.

    We still burn oil in cars because it is great for long distance drives and batteries are too expensive.

  27. “be dependant on american or allied nuclear tech”

    They have all the IP and just want to make it locally so that they can build 100 reactors and then sell them internationally.

  28. Forget proliferation risks and focus on safe and cost effective. Why forget proliferation? Lets look at the market for countries who have nuclear weapons:

    UK, France, India, Pakistan, (Israel)

    Japan could have a nuke in 3 months if they wanted it. They have the knowledge, the infrastructure, etc.

    So the market for reactors that could proliferate encompasses most of world GDP aka most of the production of world carbon.

    Just make it safe and cheap.

  29. TerraPower mostly existed to show the world the difference between Bill G and Elon M. Elon does stuff with his own money. Bill G wanted government handouts.

    Tons of respect for Mr Gates. He did amazing things in his day and his foundation does solid work but if I was a billionaire like him I would self fund a Gen IV fission plant while having fun with alt fusion.

  30. “but it would waste a lot of electricity accelerating protons instead”

    Protons had it coming. In fairness accelerator driven reactors only seem to make sense as a way to transmute the longer lived waste products.

  31. You realize that enough drops can fill a bucket? You only need to build a few for demonstration or research purposes. If they are building 20 now, they will be building a lot more than 20 in ten year’s time.

  32. Ten to twenty seems more realistic if the Chinese are determined to make use of their domestic resource. The Chinese are much more likely to develop a flexible high temperature design first, from among the several candidates they are working on, and then adapt it to a thorium fuel cycle, before completing development of a bespoke thorium design.

  33. The hard part at the temperatures of molten salt reactors is not the mechanical design, it’s the materials science.

  34. They are working on the reactor designs that could run at good temperatures for a thorium cycle … having a thorium reactor that is not at an efficient temperature for a thorium fuel cycle would just be a research project to tell us what is already established. In addition to the Molten Salt reactor, which the internet commentariat is so enamored with, they are working on VHT gas cooled designs.

    Note that if the low-heat reactor is a enriched U235 fuel cycle, it could well be complementary to higher heat thorium reactors, which offers an alternative use of the plutonium that would be produced in the low heat reactors.

  35. Africa has so much untapped hydro potential and (in East Africa) geothermal, nuclear power just does not have the urgency that it has here in China.

  36. Don’t underestimate the political importance of getting PM2.5 levels to continue to go down, now that they have adopted it as a policy goal and have started to boast about early reductions (from a massively high starting point). It’s one thing to abandon coal boilers in Beijing and swap over to NG as a show piece, but there’s district heating in lots of cities north of “the line”, and China is not going to swap all of them over to expensive imported natural gas.

  37. Yeah in China the very idea that the people should have a say in what gets built is strange and anti-social. In the US every landowner, retireee, “concerned mother” and “taxpayer” has a (terrible) opinion about everything that gets built, and dresses it up as civic duty. Even worse, the local officials who decide what gets built in the US are a bunch of lawyers and car salesmen who got elected by those clowns. Say what you will about the tenets of communism, if you had to pick which of these systems works better, the answer is clear.

  38. There should be no ‘free trade’ with any nation that is not free, democratic, and that respects human rights, IMO. So I’d place high tariffs on all imports from nations like China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, etc. and very low tariffs on all nations that are free and democratic.

    That’s the only way the Free World is going to stop the spread of Neo-fascism, IMO.


  39. Commercial nuclear reactors are the safest form of electrical energy production ever invented. And I don’t believe that any nuclear reactor housed within a– containment structure– has ever killed anyone.

    Per kilowatt of energy produced, nuclear energy kills fewer people than solar, wind, hydroelectric, natural gas, coal, and oil.

    And the next generation of small mass produced nuclear reactors such as the NuScale reactors won’t even require water to avoid potential meltdown. They’ll be inherently safe.


  40. Given recent events, i can understand the chinese in not wanting to be dependant on american or allied nuclear tech. Would be smarter for them to use russian tech as they are relatively less likely to see each other as enemies compared with america.

  41. So is that why they currently have 20 under construction? When your country is the largest economy (PPP) and is focused on growth instead of war. Infrastructure become less expensive.

  42. I think Thorium needs at least twenty to thirty years more of serious development before we get production ready reactors.

    What would be nice is Molten Salt reactors that could use radioactive waste. That way we could solve two problems at the same time.

    Nuclear reactor technology is hard and expensive.

  43. There are many new western proposals salt reactors etc, but in the western world there is also much safety regulation, it can take years to get new powerplant designs approved.
    China has a different model, with less time required to build new stuff, and isnt afraid for it. Where in the west there is huge public fear against nuclear, china just builds no matter what a population would think and has no problems in undertaking long term projects because of its communistic model.

  44. China will do what they do best they will copy our technology. They have Westinghouse technology they will make it their own.

  45. Nobody stole Orville and Wilbur’s wing design.

    (The Wright flyer turned by actually warping its wing shape- pretty cool but not how any airplanes actually fly).

  46. Nah they want to own their own design, legally base it on the best parts of other Gen III reactor designs and parts, build lots of domestic use and then export them to whoever wants them.

  47. Nothing wrong with AP-1000s apart from being expensive to produce (thanks NRC). Either way they simply cannot compete in the US (or Western hemisphere) due to the incredible cheapness of methane.

  48. It only needs to be guarded from the enrichment plant to the reactor, and once it has been irradiated it will be very difficult for bombs.

  49. I am certainly not a Chinese fan boy, but your point of view is really simplistic. You should give credit where it is due and not underestimate your adversary. 70 years ago your old man was probably saying the same things about Japanese and German cars, and a bit over 100 years ago, the British were talking in that way about Americans. You were the copycats and design thieves then.
    Call it technical evolution.

  50. I don’t think fuel costs are much of a factor, but the better safety should drastically reduce building costs.

  51. “nobody marries the town ho.”

    I knew of one who did because she didn’t cheat on him like the preacher’s daughter had.

    (And nobody put her down because she knew more on them than they did on her.)

    Other than that, good comment.

  52. It is generally considered reasonable to avoid previously discovered problem — especially those which led to fatalities.

    We all stand on the shoulders of giants. (Some were even Chinese.)

  53. They have plenty for nuclear bombs. They don’t need enough to build a million times as many. What they DO need is more power, electrical, thermal, mechanical, et cetera. Thorium is nice but other fissionable and fissile materials are nice too.

  54. “Eventually, coal will be an industrial feedstock”

    Maybe not even that. Given sufficient energy, nearly anything found in coal could obviously be extracted from seawater and a chemical engineer could synthesize anything coal could have been used to synthesize.

  55. And yet they trade with us and buy from us and we mutually benefit.

    Wild thought: This may be a good thing.

  56. Let me help,
    “China has also completed several AP1000 reactors but there delays and budget overruns there as well.”
    should have read,
    “China has also completed several AP1000 reactors but there were delays and budget overruns there as well.”

    Imperfect proofreading but not so much “shotty writing” as imagining you wrote what you intended to write. Even aye am impurfekt.

  57. Dying due to air pollution is a good reason to reject air polluters. Sure, we have ways to reduce air pollution, but they are dealing with power sources which inherently produce no air pollution.

  58. Sad for the people having to suffer needlessly because of their masters, yes.

    Not so much a matter of sleeping as different actions and attitudes.

  59. China makes many good products.
    Even if my ZTE monitors my every word and action, it is still a nice little smart phone.

    Half the cost does not inherently mean half the safety just as twice the cost doesn’t inherently mean twice the safety. Sometimes it is a measure of overkill, theft, bribes, higher wages for same work.

  60. You can not steal what is given. Plus, they have worked out the implications from known properties of matter.

  61. SNR, yes. But that doesn’t mean Molten Salt Reactors don’t also exist.

    There’s more than one way to nuke a cat.

  62. Wright brothers stole the idea of wings from Daedalus.
    And he stole it from birds.
    Who stole it from pteradons.
    Who stole it from insects.
    The trail never ends.

  63. Coal still has legs. It is cheap and easy to maintain. CO2 can be managed, e.g., by massive scale solar farms growing high protein/high oil content algae, out in desert areas. The high protein products can be used as animal feed, or even better yet, as feedstock for manufactured “meat” products. Oil can be used for biofuels.

    The Tarim Basin in NW China, with a gigantic underground ocean (up to 10 times the amt. of water of all the Great Lakes combined), and ample sunshine year round, could be a good candidate.

  64. That’s why I think they should just kick them out of the trading club early to avoid damaging the world economy

  65. Trade with China is self defeating… they don’t want to trade… they want absolute control over everything so they can not buy anything from outside of the country

  66. I suppose these Chinese gov learnt enough with technology transfers to avoid ever needing to buy anything from other countries related to nuke power

  67. Mark Stewart,
    Perhaps a better idea would be Thorium. Maybe the Germans will end their self imposed moratorium. Until then, the oil supply appears almost endless.

  68. That is interesting. The designs come from consolidated power. Anyone with the intellectual capacity of the lauded designer is capable of equivilent production…yet we like to award monopolies like sole individuals make the world go round

  69. It won’t mean much if they are not Thorium cycle reactors.
    We know when they go Uranium, they want bombs to be easier

  70. We are not allowed to advance till the owners have maximized their returns on established reserves….especially if it means rich owners having to end up working the fields

  71. Interesting. We can’t opt for more effiient fuel cycles that are more difficult to pull bomb grade material from.

  72. This tells us nothing. Let us see the kind of reactors and how the fuel chain is handled.

    Air pollution is easily not the real reason

  73. The Chinese don’t have a clue and neither do we. Right now, all nuclear reactors are just too expensive and most are inherently unsafe. There is a need to start with a blank slate with two goals. The reactor must be inherently safe and must be cheap. Maybe a Molten Salt Reactor using Uranium Fuel might work.

  74. Lost me in the first paragraph with your grammar error…. reactors but there delays … Is it there are delays or their delays? Shotty writing that I won’t be reading in the future

  75. Good critical thinking and vision for future industrial development scale. So sad that Africa is still sleeping.

  76. End of the world nuke made in China Good luck nothing from that country is good why a nuclear reactor should be ? Half the cost means half the safety like what they do with everything.

  77. Heads up – the last chart is in yuan, not dollars. At $0.15 per yuan, they have the AP cost down to $2,250 / kW. Not too shabby.

  78. I dunno man, I wouldn’t trust anything built in the Anglosphere. They can’t build high-rise residential towers. They can’t build cars. Their aerospace sector couldn’t design a lawn mower that cost less than $1 million. Competence and knowledge are gone. They are the lesser sons of greater fathers.

  79. Because it is well designed. Gen III+ reactors have been decades in the making. Why not start at state of the art in terms of reliabity and safety?

  80. That is bullshit. Plutonium-239 is excellent both in a bomb and in a reactor, also easy to make from natural uranium – in USA “Hanford B” reactor based on basic nuclear physics and near-zero nuclear experience in 1944 was making high-purity plutonium-239 for the first bombs. Only politics and hysterical fools gave plutonium a bad name. Same for uranium-235 – the best naval reactors use fuel with up to 98% pure uranium-235, which is far better that required for a bomb. With that purity, the reactor core is small, dense and works reliably for decades without refuelling – those reactors are used in modern nuclear submarines that are fuelled once in their whole life cycle.

  81. Fuel costs are a very small fraction of LWR reactors’ overall power costs (especially now, with construction costs through the roof and staffing levels per MW that are 3 times what they were in decades past).  A fraction of a cent/kW-hr.  Safety? Oh please, the risks of all nuclear plant designs are negligible (the Soviet RBMK being the only possible counter-example).

  82. No. Nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants have as much to do with each other as gun barrels have to do with plumbing: both made of the same stuff (metal tubes in the case of the metaphor). Nuclear materials are mutually exclusive in their purpose; what’s good for weapons sucks at power production and what’s good for power production sucks for weapons.

  83. I bet they could even talk us into sending them our nuclear waste and have us pay them for the privilege too! XD

  84. maybe you guys are not aware that there is not a whole lot of intellectual property in PWRs. The technology transfer is paperwork.

  85. They picked up MSR technology off the waste heap. The US government threw away the most promising power reactor technology ever developed. I say good for the Chinese.

  86. Western reactors are designed to financially benefit the legacy nuclear industry, more than the operators. Solid fuel reactors all have absurdly high fuel costs, relative to MSRs, and are less safe. I predict the Chinese will go on a MSR building spree, possibly something similar to what Elisium envisions, as well as burners.
    The light water reactors built for district heating are absurd. It’s crazy not to cogenerate heat, and electricity for district heating.

  87. The GOP does not so much support coal. It only seems so, relative to the Obama administration.
    It is not trying to destroy the industry, like Obama, but allowing it to die as uneconomic industries do. Coal will go the way of the whale oil industry, as better alternatives appear, and the cost of coal increases, because the better deposits have been mined.
    Eventually, coal will be an industrial feedstock, but not a fuel, with the possible exception of metallurgical coal.

  88. dem dern scurry fareners! how dar dey be good at thangs! it scurrs me ’cause I thought they were ape-men and muh own cuntry ain’t doin so good these days!

  89. The concepts can be copied but it is not right to copy the majority of the design and only pay for one reactor. It would be like taking a 777 airliner reverse engineering it then creating you own version with a few minor changes. That would put Boeing at a huge disadvantage as they still have to recover all the research and design cost. China is already benefiting in a major way from all the molten salt work Oakridge did in the 60s and 70s. Some will claim this is just smart but it still irritates even though to be fair China is paying the environmental cost of energy production to manufacture most of the things we are consuming.

  90. Headline is misleading. Chinese CAP1400 is derived from Westinghouse’s AP1000. The whole point of buying one of each reactor (US, FR, RU) was to get a license for IP to make derivative reactors.

  91. They are using Western technology stolen from us. That’s been the case for about the last decade. Can’t trust the Chinese!

  92. America loves clean coal! If it was good enough for my great great grand-pappy – its good enough for me. Thanks GOP!

  93. Hmmm. LWR is a ‘western’ thing, eh?

    As opposed to a ginseng, herbs and acupuncture approach?

    Oh. Oh. Maybe we can call them copycats for using water and ceramic fuel!

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