The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

The world will be changed by China’s renewable energy revolution

flag-ChinaChina’s Renewable Energy Revolution Has Global Implications, Clean Technica John Mathews and  Hao Tan8 April 14, China’s renewable energy revolution is powering ahead, with the year 2013 marking an important inflection point where the scales tipped more towards electric power generated from water, wind and solar than from fossil fuels and nuclear. This means that its energy security is being enhanced, while carbon emissions from the power sector can be expected to soon start to fall.


China’s energy revolution, which underpins its transformation into the world’s largest manufacturing system (the new “workshop of the world”), continues to astonish all observers, and terrify some. China is known widely as the world’s largest user and producer of coal, and the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. This is true. Less noticed has been the fact that China is also building the world’s largest renewable energy system – which by 2013 stood at just over 1 trillion kilowatt-hours – already nearly as large as the combined total of electrical energy produced by the power systems of France and Germany.1

The energy landscape continues to give the clearest indication of the trends in industrial dynamics and prospects for the future. China is powering ahead with renewables while at the same time it expands its reliance on fossil fuels; the US by contrast is further locking in its dependence on fossil fuels. The distinction is critical………

 We need to sketch in the background to China’s energy revolution, so that the enormity of its commitment to renewables may be appreciated. ……. While coal for thermal power continues to rise, the overall consumption of coal appears to be ‘capped’ at 3,500 million tonnes – a desperate measure taken no doubt in response to the blackening skies and poisoning of water and air

In just the space of eight years, China has become the world’s most important generator of wind power, with the world’s largest capacity and the largest addition of new power capacity in the year 2013. The increase in all three sources of renewables – hydro, wind and solar PV – is shown in Fig. 3, in terms of the proportion of power generated by renewables and its relentless rise (apart from a dip in 2012, following world recession in 2011).

The proportion reached by 2013, of close to 30% of electrical energy generated from renewable sources (hydro, wind and solar), is what gives China its international influence in renewables – and it demonstrates a relentless trend towards greater reliance on manufacturing systems for production of, e.g. wind turbines and solar cells, as opposed to the reliance elsewhere on alternative fossil fuels such as coal seam gas and shale oil…….

The sharp rise in renewables reflects particularly the new commitment to wind power – and it looks set to continue through industrial logistic dynamics. We will develop an argument below for the significance of this date……….

3. Investment trends

Expenditure in building new power generating infrastructure can reveal more than data on capacity and generating additions. The CEC has released investment data for 2013, which reveal the following trends. In terms of investment, China spent more on its grid in 2013 than on new power generation facilities………The significance of this is that China is spending on infrastructure to accommodate more renewable power facilities, as well as on the facilities themselves. Of the new generation facilities, investment in new energy sources accounted for more than 40% of the total investment in new power generation facilities…….

Thus our conclusion that in 2013, China’s leading edge of change in its electric power system is now more “green” than “black”. We have demonstrated above that this is unambiguously so in terms of capacity added and in terms of investment, while in terms of new generation of electrical energy thermal still marginally outranks renewables (180 billion kWh generated to 160 billion kWh)………

at the leading edge, for the year 2013 alone, China added 94 GW of new capacity, of which 55.3 GW came from renewables (59%), and just 36.5 GW (or 39%) came from thermal sources – a dramatic reversal of past trends;…….

our analysis that China’s carbon emissions are set to peak and then to fall – and fall faster than in the US or in Europe……..

April 9, 2014 Posted by | China, renewable | Leave a comment

China’s motives in developing renewable energy

 China is serious in its pursuit of renewables, because it seems to believe that its future prosperity depends on building the industries that produce power – complementing its activities in searching for fossil fuels supplies all around the world. There is a lesson here for all other developing countries, and notably for India and Brazil. And not only developing countries.

flag-ChinaChina’s Renewable Energy Revolution Has Global Implications, Clean Technica John Mathews and  Hao Tan8 April 14, “……The motives Finally, we need to ask what are the motives for China’s dramatic shift to a renewables trajectory? The common assumption is that it is concern over climate change (global warming) that drives the shift. Important as this motive is, we believe it is the least likely of the explanations for China’s shift. We believe the more plausible explanation for China’s new trajectory – and for the determination with which it is being pursued – is energy security and industrial development. Continue reading

April 9, 2014 Posted by | China, politics international, renewable | Leave a comment

China is No.1 in renewable energy investment

renewable-energy-pictureU.S. Lags Behind China in Renewables Investments, Clean Technica, 6 April 14 By   Follow @bobbymagill Don’t let all those Texas wind farms and massive installations of solar panels in California fool you. The U.S. is not the world leader in clean energy investment.

China is.

China Is #1 In Renewable Energy Investment, US #2, Japan #3 (CHART) With record-breaking solar installations in the US, and solar actually coming in as the #2 source of new electricity capacity in 2013, you might think the US was the #1 market in the world for renewable energy investment. Of course, if you follow how much renewable energy China is installing… or if you just read the headline above, you know otherwise. Here are more details from Climate Central:

For the second year, an annual Pew Charitable Trusts report, “Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race?”, shows that China is the world leader in clean energy investment, with $54 billion in investments in renewables in 2013, well above total U.S. investment of $36.7 billion. No other clean energy market in the world is operating at that scale,” Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew’s clean energy program, said during a teleconference Thursday, referring to China.

The report was released just days after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the second part to its fifth assessment report, which states unequivocally that people will have to adapt to a world in which human fossil fuel emissions have caused the climate to change, threating lives across the globe as temperatures and seas rise and extreme weather becomes more frequent. Developing renewable energy is seen as one of the primary ways to reduce humans’ impact on the climate.

The Pew report says China’s efforts to slash poverty, expand economic development and solve its air pollution problems have driven the country to invest heavily in clean energy…………

Zwindler said the solar and wind power industries worldwide are in a transition period as subsidies for renewables are scaled back, especially in Germany and Italy, but he is confident renewables will be able to compete in the future with few subsidies.

“It does not take place in all places at the same time,” he said. “If you’re in a sunny part of the world with high electricity prices, putting solar on your roof clearly can make more sense.”

April 7, 2014 Posted by | China, renewable | Leave a comment

Renewed demand for solar PV in China

sunflag-ChinaSolar PV rebounds as demand comes back with ‘a vengeance’ SMH, March 20, 2014 Solar manufacturers are returning to profit as demand in China soaks up a supply glut that gutted margins for more than two years.

The largest solar-panel maker Yingli Green Energy said it expects to be profitable in the third quarter. It joins peers including JinkoSolar, Trina Solar and JA Solar in guiding investors to expect both income and higher shipments in 2014.

Climbing demand for solar panels is countering a global oversupply of production capacity that erased profits across the industry and bankrupted more than a dozen companies. Developers installed 37.5 gigawatts of panels worldwide last year, up 22 per cent from 2012, and that figure may increase as much as 39 per cent this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

That growth is starting to “sponge up” much of the glut, especially among Chinese manufacturers, that resulted from a buildup in the late 2000s, Pavel Molchanov, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates in Houston, said in an interview. “That has made a real dent in the overcapacity.”

China, which surpassed Germany to become the biggest solar market last year, may install more than 14 gigawatts this year, aiding domestic producers. The Asian nation added a record 12 gigawatts of solar power in 2013, compared with 3.6 gigawatts a year ago, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance……..

The largest solar manufacturers have cut expenses and are poised to take advantage of growth this year, said Nimal Vallipuram, an analyst at Gilford Securities Inc. in New York.

“They continue to do very well at reducing the costs and their volume is going up very strongly,” he said. “Demand has come back with a vengeance.”–with-a-vengeance-20140320-353ir.html

March 21, 2014 Posted by | China, renewable | Leave a comment

China’s nuclear power ambitions fading?

flag-ChinaWhy China’s nuclear energy ambitions are falling flat By Lily Kuo @lilkuo March 19, 2014 At a time when other countries are scaling back their nuclear energy programs, China has been plowing ahead. Its largest nuclear energy companies are considering initial public offerings to raise over $2 billion, and Chinese researchers are racing to build the world’s first nuclear plant that runs on thorium. China’s nuclear reactors account for almost 40% of the world’s total. This year alone, the country plans to add 8.6 gigawatts of nuclear power capability—almost as much as the United Kingdom’s annual nuclear power capacity.

But even as impressive as those numbers sound, nuclear power still accounts for less than 2% China’s electricity. For the past few years, others forms of low-carbon energy sources have widened their lead over nuclear.
Today, about 70% of the country’s electricity is generated by coal-fired plants. Hydropower is the country’s largest source of renewable energy; it produces about 20% of the country’s installed power capacity and accounted for over 30% of new generation capacity installed last year. Wind is also quickly gaining ground:

Thus, nuclear power’s contribution to China’s goal of reducing its reliance on coal—and, crucially, reducing the air pollution that is choking many of its major cities and contributing to global warming—is likely to be modest for decades to come.

Nuclear power has been underwhelming in China for many of the same reasons it has struggled elsewhere: it’s technically difficult, expensive, and resisted by parts of the public. Because nuclear power plants take so long to build, and China’s energy demands are imminent, other forms of renewable energy like wind and hydropower have taken precedence. (Nuclear reactors typically require at least six years to build, compared to around two years for geothermal power plants and just a few months for wind farms.)

graph wind-nuclear-china


Engineering problems and delays are also a major culprit, and may prevent China from meeting its scaled-down nuclear power goals. As Grist points out, even if all Chinese nuclear capacity currently under construction were to become operational in the next six years, China would have reached only 45 gigawatts by 2020, well shy of its 58 gigawatts goal. Advanced plants that could bring higher efficiency, like a thorium reactor, will still require years of work to resolve engineering issues, researchers say.

Moreover, one of the benefits of nuclear power is that it can be installed close to where it is in demand—in contrast to wind and hydropower—lessening the distance that electricity has to travel along a power grid where some of the power is inevitably lost. But China is spending over 1 trillion yuan ($162.8 billion) to upgrade and expand its grid. As of last year, 84% of the country’s wind capacity was connected to the grid, from 72% in 2011, and the amount of wind-generated electricity wasted in transfer has fallen to 11% from 16% over the same period,according to Fitch Ratings.

Public resistance to nuclear is also a problem in China, which imposed a six-month hiatus on the construction of new nuclear plants after the partial meltdown of nuclear reactors in Fukushima in 2011. Last year, a nuclear fuel processing plant in the southern province of Guangdong was canceled because of local protests.

March 20, 2014 Posted by | China, ENERGY | Leave a comment

Decades to solve problems of Thorium nuclear reactors

Small-modular-reactor-dudSouth China Morning Post, 19 March 14 ……….Researchers working on the project said they were under unprecedented “war-like” pressure to succeed and some of the technical challenges they faced were difficult, if not impossible to solve in such a short period.

They would also probably face opposition from sections of the Chinese public after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in Japan….One of the technical difficulties is that the molten salt produces highly corrosive chemicals such as fluoride that could damage the reactor.

The power plant would also have to operate at extremely high temperatures, raising concerns about safety. In addition, researchers have limited knowledge of how to use thorium.

“We are still in the dark about the physical and chemical nature of thorium in many ways,” said Li. “There are so many problems to deal with but so little time.”

Western countries such as the United States have experimented with thorium reactors but gave up on the technology because of the engineering difficulties………

One of the technical difficulties is that the molten salt produces highly corrosive chemicals such as fluoride that could damage the reactor.

The power plant would also have to operate at extremely high temperatures, raising concerns about safety. In addition, researchers have limited knowledge of how to use thorium.

“We are still in the dark about the physical and chemical nature of thorium in many ways,” said Li. “There are so many problems to deal with but so little time.”

Western countries such as the United States have experimented with thorium reactors but gave up on the technology because of the engineering difficulties……The thorium reactors would need years, if not decades, to overcome the corrosion issue and the stability of accelerator-driven plants was also in doubt, he said.

“These projects are beautiful to scientists, but nightmarish to engineers,” he said…….After the Fukushima nuclear disaster three years ago, the central government withheld approval for new nuclear plants.

Part of the resistance came from the public, as many people were worried that nuclear plants would cause more serious contamination than the pollution created by coal-fired stations, Gu said.

Government agencies such as the Ministry of Water Resources also opposed the construction of nuclear plants in land-locked areas over concerns that radioactive waste would worsen river pollution.

March 19, 2014 Posted by | China, Reference, technology | 3 Comments

Wind power racing ahead of nuclear in China

Why is Wind Power Generation Surpassing Nuclear? One of the reasons why nuclear power has not kept up with wind in China is the relative time it takes to get a project up and running. Whereas the typical Chinese nuclear reactor takes roughly six years to build, a wind farm can be completed in a matter of months.

wind-turb-smWind Leaves Nuclear Behind In China J. Matthew Roney In China, wind power is leaving nuclear behind. Electricity output from China’s wind farms exceeded that from its nuclear plants for the first time in 2012, by a narrow margin. Then in 2013, wind pulled away—outdoing nuclear by 22 percent. The 135 terawatt-hours of Chinese wind-generated electricity in 2013 would be nearly enough to power New York State. Once China’s Renewable Energy Law established the development framework for renewables in 2005, the stage was set for wind’s exponential growth. Wind generating capacity more than doubled each year from 2006 to 2009 and has since increased by nearly 40 percent annually, to reach 91 gigawatts by the end of 2013 (1 gigawatt = 1,000 megawatts). Over 80 percent of this world-leading wind capacity is now feeding electricity to the grid.

Wind generation in 2013 could have been even higher, by an estimated 10 percent, but for the problem known as curtailment—when wind turbines are stopped because the grid cannot handle any more electricity. To help reduce curtailment and reach the official 2020 goal of 200 grid-connected gigawatts, China is building the world’s largest ultra-high-voltage transmission system. The raft of projects now under construction will connect the windier north and west to population centers in the central and eastern provinces. Continue reading

March 14, 2014 Posted by | China, renewable | Leave a comment

China’s repressive policies in Tibet

text-relevantHuman Rights Watch chides China for enforcing highly repressive policies in Tibet   DHARAMSHALA: China’s policies in Tibet once again came under criticism from Human Rights Watch, which says in annual report released on Tuesday that the Chinese government systematically suppresses Tibetan political, cultural, religious and socio-economic rights.

China-civil-libertiesThe Chinese government systematically suppresses Tibetan political, cultural, religious and socio-economic rights in the name of combating what it sees as separatist sentiment including non-violent advocacy for Tibetan independence, the Dalai Lama’s return, or opposition to government policy, the report said.

“Arbitrary arrest and imprisonment remains common, and torture and ill-treatment in detention is endemic. Fair trials are precluded by politicised judiciary overtly tasked with suppressing separatism,” it said.

“The Chinese government carries out involuntary population relocation and rehousing on a massive scale, and enforces highly repressive policies in ethnic minority areas in Tibet, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia,” Human Rights Watch said in its report.

“The government is also subjecting millions of Tibetans to a mass rehousing and relocation policy that radically changes their way of life and livelihoods, Continue reading

January 27, 2014 Posted by | China, civil liberties | Leave a comment

Solar PV installation at record high in China

China’s solar PV installations soared to record in 2013  Developers in China installed a record 12 gigawatts of solar panels last year, almost matching the total amount of solar power in operation in the U.S., and may exceed that this year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The power plants were built mostly in the sunny, western provinces of Gansu, Xinjiang and Qinghai and make China’s state-owned power companies the world’s biggest owners of solar assets, the London-based research company said today in a statement.

China was the biggest solar market last year, surpassing longtime leader Germany. Chinese installation more than tripled from 3.6 gigawatts in 2012, and the nation expects to add 14 gigawatts of solar capacity this year, according to New Energy Finance.

“The 2013 figures show the astonishing scale of the Chinese market,” said Jenny Chase, lead solar analyst at New Energy Finance. “PV is becoming ever cheaper and simpler to install, and China’s government has been as surprised as European governments by how quickly it can be deployed in response to incentives.”
Chinese developers rushed to complete projects before the end of the year, when a 1-yuan (17 U.S. cents) a kilowatt-hour incentive expired. That may have led to as many as 2 gigawatts of late-year additions that aren’t included in the 12-gigawatt total.

China led a 28 per cent increase in global solar installations last year of 39 gigawatts, and total installation may increase another 20 per cent this year, according to the statement. Before 2013, no nation had ever installed more than 8 gigawatts of solar power in a year.

January 27, 2014 Posted by | China, renewable | Leave a comment

China blocking “inconvenient” foreign news sites

text-relevantChina blocks foreign news sites that revealed elite’s offshore holdings Guardian among sites blocked over reports • China Digital Times publishes details of directive  in Beijing and  in New York, Thursday 23 January 2014

The blocking of foreign news sites that revealed details of offshore holdings by the relatives of senior leaders has continued in China as reports emerged of a propaganda directive ordering websites and services to target users posting on the subject.

Details of the order were published by China Digital Times, a website that monitors censorship instructions.

“Immediately find and remove the foreign media report “China’s Secret Offshore Tax Havens” and related content. Interactive platforms must strictly check [users]. Related images and accusatory comments about leaders and the system [of government] must be deleted without exception,” said the instructions, according to CDT.

“Block the [user] IDs of those who have an evil influence and coordinate on-the-ground investigations with the relevant departments.”…

January 27, 2014 Posted by | China, civil liberties, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Thorium nuclear reactors for military use, too, funded by USA and Chinese tax-payers

ThoriumSPECIAL REPORT-The U.S. government lab behind China’s nuclear power push Dec 20, 2013  Dec 20 (Reuters) – Scientists in Shanghai are attempting a breakthrough in nuclear energy: reactors powered by thorium, an alternative to uranium.

peaceful-nukeThe project is run by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a government body with close military ties that coordinates the country’s science-and-technology strategy. The academy has designated thorium as a priority for China’s top laboratories. The program has a budget of $350 million. And it’s being spearheaded by the influential son of a former Chinese president.

But even as China bulks up its military muscle through means ranging from espionage to heavy spending, it is pursuing this aspect of its technology game plan with the blessing – and the help – of the United States. Read more »

December 24, 2013 Posted by | China, politics international, Reference, technology, USA, weapons and war | 3 Comments

China marketing nuclear technology to Pakistan

nuclear-marketing-crapHow Pakistan and China Are Strengthening Nuclear Ties

By  @kristamahrDec. 02, 2013 Pakistan held a ceremonial groundbreaking last week on a nuclear complex in Karachi that it intends to build with assistance from China. The government says the complex, which will contain two Chinese-built nuclear reactors, will cost $9.6 billion and will help assuage the power crisis that has crippled daily life and the national economy in recent years.

The reactors are expected to start supplying 2,200 megawatts to the grid by 2019. The complex is not the first energy investment or nuclear project in Pakistan that China has been involved with, but it will be by far the largest.

marketig-nukesThe nuclear power relationship between Pakistan and China is widely seen as a continuing effort to respond to the India-U.S. civilian nuclear deal, which, among other things, ended a decades-long moratorium on U.S. companies selling nuclear technology to India, despite India not being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The move rankled Pakistan, which has also not signed the treaty and worries about a nuclear buildup by a country it considers its archenemy. China, too, criticized the deal for, it asserted, undermining nonproliferation. That the U.S. was building ties with India to counterbalance China’s growing power in Asia was probably not lost on Beijing either.

December 3, 2013 Posted by | China, marketing | Leave a comment

USA nuclear missile arsenal far outweighs China’s

Admiral: China Nuclear Missile Submarine Threat is Not Credible Says U.S. nuclear-armed missile submarines remain a powerful deterrent  Washington Free Beacon, BY:    November 16, 2013  SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — China’s recent threat to use submarine-launched nuclear missiles to attack U.S. cities lacks credibility, the Navy’s top admiral said on Saturday.

“For a submarine-launched ballistic missile to be effective it has to be accurate, and you have to be stealthy, and survivable and I’ll leave it at that,” Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, said when asked about publication in China’s state-run press last month of plans for killing between 5 million and 12 million Americans in a nuclear strikes.

Greenert said U.S. nuclear-armed missile submarines remain a powerful deterrent despite an aging U.S. nuclear arsenal and the urgent need to upgrade those forces in the face of sharp defense spending cuts……

November 18, 2013 Posted by | China, weapons and war | Leave a comment

China will have controlling interest in UK’s nuclear power!

flag-ChinaBritain’s debt to foreign power: China’s nuclear revolution George Osborne has effectively handed the nation’s nuclear industry over to Chinese and French giants Telegraph, By   18 Oct 2013  How’s this for a turn-up flag-UKfor the books? A Conservative Chancellor, promoter of free markets and defender of national sovereignty, is boasting of “allowing” (a euphemism, it seems, for “begging”) a totalitarian Communist country to build nuclear power stations in Britain.

It will all start – under a deal expected to be finalised next week – with the state-owned China General Nuclear Power joining the equally nationalised Electricité de France (EDF) in constructing a £14 billion brace of reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset. The Chinese will have a minority share in the project, but have made it clear – and George Osborne accepts this – that they should have a controlling interest in future schemes.

So, much of Britain’s highly sensitive nuclear industry – which sprang from the atomic bomb programme – is effectively to be owned by two foreign powers, one the country’s oldest traditional enemy, the other a bitter Cold War opponent. Few other nations, and certainly not China, would dream of permitting anything of the kind. Doesn’t Mr Osborne see that this could be a bit radioactive, shall we say? Continue reading

November 8, 2013 Posted by | China, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Unusual cancers in Xinjiang, China’s nuclear test area

flag-ChinaChina’s top-secret nuclear base to be revived as £30m Communist Party theme park, Telegraph, 7 Nov 13 One of China’s most secret military compounds is undergoing an unlikely transformation into a “red tourism” theme park for Communist Party aficionados By Tom Phillips, Red Mountain Command Base, Xinjiang“………According to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute earlier this year, China now possesses around 250 of the world’s estimated 17,270 nuclear weapons and and appears to be expanding its nuclear arsenal…….

A “Political Department Exhibit Hall” will display the official narrative but there is no indication its displays will delve into the long-hidden controversies surrounding the tests’ human cost.

exclamation-As early as 1981 Beijing-based diplomats began whispering about fears of a hidden nuclear catastrophe in Xinjiang.

Citing one local official, Canada’s Globe and Mail reported “lung, liver and skin cancer has greatly increased in the area, touching off increased fears of [nuclear] contamination”. A number of cancer patients had been sent to Beijing for “special study”, the newspaper added.

In the absence of any public investigation such concerns have persisted. In 1998, a team of Channel Four journalists accused Beijing of a systematic cover-up after they obtained evidence pointing to a dramatic rise in the number of cancer cases in the region since 1965, the year after China’s first nuclear test.

“Basically, cancer is everywhere in Xinjiang,” one local doctor told the programme, adding: “We can’t do research into it. It’s not allowed.”

Beijing rejected that report as “sheer fabrication”. But a 2008 study by a Japanese scholar claimed up to 190,000 people may have died from illnesses linked to radiation.

Local officials say there is no risk of lingering radiation at the Red Mountain theme park and some tourists are already making the pilgrimage to the birthplace of China’s nuclear arsenal…..

November 8, 2013 Posted by | China, health, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment


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