China Moves Ahead, While US Falls Behind

..China Moves Ahead, While US Falls Behind

China has consolidated its nuclear power industry by combining two major Chinese nuclear companies, CNEC and CNNC, into a single powerhouse.

The new company will have 150,000 employees.

For comparison, Google has 72,000. Costco has 143,000. GE has 305,000.

The company is marketing its newest reactor, the HPR 1000, known as the Hualong One, to other countries, including Pakistan.

CNNC installed the pressure vessel for the first HPR 1000 unit on January 28 at the Fuqing 5 power plant. Additional HPR 1000 units under construction in China include Fuqing 6, and Fangchenggang Units 3 and 4.

China views the nuclear industry as a strategically important industry.

From CNNC Website

While the export market for nuclear power plants may be confined to developing countries which have significant financial risk, China can undertake that risk while it spreads its influence around the world.

The US used to be the leader of the nuclear industry, but environmentalists have created such a high level of fear of radiation among Americans that the US nuclear industry is in a death spiral.

Ten years ago, there were 104 nuclear power plants operating in the United States. Ten years ago, it was assumed that all these reactors would obtain an extension to their operating licenses permitting them to operate for an additional 20 years when their initial operating license expired.

It was only four years ago that 87 nuclear reactors had already obtained an extension to their operating licenses.

Today the picture has changed dramatically.

Extensions are no longer considered useful and nuclear plants are closing before the end of their useful lives.

The Diablo Canyon plant in California is a good example of how environmentalists have targeted nuclear power plants for closure, notwithstanding the fact that nuclear provides baseload power without CO2 emissions.

The initial environmental complaint, other than the danger supposedly caused by radiation, was that the plant used cooling water from the ocean which, when it cycled back into the ocean, warmed the ocean near the plant.

Anyone familiar with the area knows that the Japanese current flows past the plant with very cold water, which quickly absorbs heat from the cooling water coming from the power plant.

In other words, it is a bogus issue.

PG&E has now acquiesced to the political demand for the plants closure, and has agreed that the plant will be closed before 2025.

Several other nuclear plants are being closed because they are not profitable, especially in the areas covered by the RTO/ISO auctions. These auctions are rigged so that wind and solar will always win an auction because they have no fuel costs. Natural gas power plants have been beating out nuclear in day ahead auctions.

In other words, nuclear power plants are being closed because their incremental costs are higher, even though their total costs are lower. See, The Market for Electricity is Rigged.

And nuclear provides critical, reliable and steady baseload power.

In a few instances the politicians have suddenly realized their grid will be unreliable without nuclear power plants and have thrown nuclear power plants, within their jurisdictions, a lifeline by giving them special consideration because they don’t emit CO2.

On one hand, we have China that recognizes the importance of low-cost clean energy, while, on the other, here in the United States, the environmentalists are campaigning for the closure of nuclear power plants and the use of rigged auctions to support unreliable wind and solar.

CNEC (China Nuclear Engineering & Construction Corp)
CNNC (China National Nuclear Corp)

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4 Replies to “China Moves Ahead, While US Falls Behind”

  1. Great Post Donn,

    I hope a few of the leading power engineers, anthropologists, and economists, in China are able to spend a few days evaluating the latest Jacobson plan on how to provide energy to run the world as denoted here-

    I’d love to see an independent evaluation of the assumptions and requirements that led to this assertion: ‘Social cost per unit energy is around one-fourth that off fossil fuel system, and the WWS business cost per unit energy is about the same.”

    Those of us that live in the real world end up paying for the products and services we consume. I was having a bit of a problem figuring out how Dr. Jacobson’s plan relates to the costs allocations I will be asked to pay for my use of a kWh in his plan. It’s a tad cold right now where I live (20F). It appears that Dr. Jacobson plan assumes that in the next few years I will purchase a lot of EE so that my demand for HVAC will go down by 40%.

    It’s been a couple of years since I checked the DOE website on EE for HVAC, but back than they suggested that folks take into account that the benefits of heat pumps (efficiency wise) drop off rather dramatically as the temperature drops below 46F. I assume Dr. Jacobson checked out his plan with +2 or +3 sigma heating degree day requirement in his model. Having enough supply to keep people from freezing to death on cold February mornings is a good idea.

    The two inches of ice on my PV panels this morning are preventing the free energy from the sun from being captured by my panels. Hopefully by the end of the day the ice will melt.

    • Thanks. I looked at Jacobson’s paper, and it looks like more of the same wishful thinking that underpins so much of the clean energy hype.
      It’s been brought to my attention that Jacobson has dropped his lawsuit against those who have published papers critical of his work.

  2. Thanks for another great article.
    My summer home is close to the Forked River Exelon Nuclear plant which is being shutdown by environmentalists even though it did get an extension. Ultimately I expect we will see another increase in electricity on top of an already high rate. Our new governor is not likely to be friendly to any industry let alone Nuclear.
    I was wondering what the impact of GE’s current demise will have on the US industry

    • I don’t know what GE is thinking in regards to its JV with Hitachi. To my knowledge, the JV has been very quiet of late, and hasn’t really influenced the nuclear industry in recent years.

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