China To Make Huge Bet On Nuclear Power To Reach Climate Goals

China will rely heavily on nuclear energy in the coming decades to try to reach its own carbon neutrality goal in 2060, as it looks to significantly expand its nuclear power capacity fleet with new projects worth up to $440 billion, Bloomberg reports.

Over the next 15 years, the world’s largest polluter will seek to build as many as 150 nuclear reactors, at a cost of up to $440 billion, as China has decided to double down on nuclear energy generation to reduce its emissions.

The plans for huge nuclear capacity rollout in coming years could make China the largest generator of nuclear energy in the world by the mid-2020s, overtaking the United States, Bloomberg notes.

In recent years, other countries, especially after the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011, have questioned the safety of nuclear energy and the cost overruns that have plagued several major projects, including the Hinkley Point C project in the UK.

In its Net Zero Strategy unveiled last month, the UK government said it would aim to fully decarbonize the power system by 2035 by relying on renewables, “cutting edge new nuclear power stations,” and underpinned by “flexibility including storage, gas with CCS, hydrogen and ensure reliable power is always there at the flick of a switch.” 

In the European Union, France leads a group of EU member states, including Finland and several central and eastern European countries who pushed last month for including nuclear energy in the upcoming green investment rules of the European Union.

This push has divided Europe, and the EU is reportedly delaying a decision on how to deal with nuclear energy, as well as natural gas, in upcoming legislation about which types of energy would classify as eligible for “green financing.”

In a new report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) ahead of the COP26 summit, “Nine countries – Canada, China, Finland, France, Japan, Poland, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom—provided statements in the report in support of its findings on nuclear power’s contributions to climate action,” the IAEA said in October.

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