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Lessons Learned: China Stresses Safety After Japanese Nuclear Crisis

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China aims to launch strict security measures for nuclear power projects. (Photo: Robert Walker)
China aims to launch strict security measures for nuclear power projects. (Photo: Robert Walker)


  • China has 13 operational nuclear power reactors; 25 under construction
  • China to grow nuclear capacity by ten-fold, reaching 400 GWe by 2050
  • China ranked 1st for global energy consumption in 2010

The Japanese nuclear crisis has taught China an important lesson about safety, prompting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to meet with the nation’s State Council to stress that strict security measures must be integrated in its ambitious nuclear power development plans.

China currently has 13 operational nuclear power reactors with 25 more under construction, according to the World Nuclear Association. Additional reactors are scheduled for construction to provide a ten-fold boost to nuclear capacity, reaching at least 80 GWe by 2020, 200 GWe by 2030 and 400 GWe by 2050.

Nuclear power plant construction will go ahead, but only if projects meet a series of guidelines recently released by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), China's nuclear power regulatory body. The guidelines layout increased safety standards related to stress testing, disaster response procedures and other security-related power plant infrastructure.

China’s Growing Power Needs

China’s aggressive bid for nuclear power comes in response to its fast-growing population and economy, which will require an increased nuclear power supply to efficiently support the boom. In 2010, China ranked as the leading energy-consumer nation on the planet, ahead of the USA, according to the International Energy Agency.

China is adopting advanced reactor design techniques and is quickly becoming more self-sufficient in reactor construction. Currently, no known serious nuclear power accidents have taken place in China over its 15 years of large-scale electricity production.

Energy industry leaders will have the chance to meet and discuss the future of nuclear power in-depth at four major nuclear-related events, taking place in China before the summer: The 9th China International Exhibition on Nuclear Power will take place on April 6-8 in Shenzhen; the China Nuclear Summit 2011 will run from April 14-15 in Shanghai; the 3rd International China Nuclear Power Congress will be held on April 28-29 in Beijing; and the 7th Annual China Nuclear Energy Congress is scheduled for May 12-13 in Beijing.

Key Players - Global Energy Industry

  • Among the total Top 250 Global Energy Company Rankings 2010 from Platt’s, a leading global publisher of energy information, the following Chinese energy companies rank in the first 30: PetroChina Co Ltd (ranked 7), China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (8), China Shenhua Energy Co Ltd (19), and CNOOC Ltd (29).

By Sarah Dunbar for
Sarah Dunbar has been an editor and journalist for over eight years, covering trends in energy, economy and technology for international publications.

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