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China sets out to control the world nuclear industry, – Pakistan, UK, and beyond

Nikkei Asian Review 9th May 2021,
Nick Butler: On Mar. 11, Pakistan inaugurated its most recent and largest
civil nuclear power project with the opening of the 1.1-gigawatt plant in
Karachi, doubling the capacity of Pakistan’s four existing nuclear
facilities. A second similar unit is due to come online in the coming
months. The event marked a significant step for Pakistan which needs
additional capacity from all sources to bolster its existing inadequate
power supplies.

But even more important was the fact that the plant was
built and will be operated by the state-owned China National Nuclear Corp.
(CNNC), one of the companies leading Beijing’s drive to join the very short
list of countries with the capability to build and operate civil nuclear
power projects around the world. The development of China’s nuclear
industry over the last decade has been remarkable. With over 30 new
reactors commissioned and another 16 under construction, China is now the
main source of growth for nuclear power across the world.

China’s objective is to create a closed cycle, self-reliant nuclear industry within
China from the processing of uranium to produce fuel for the reactors
through to construction and management of the operating plants. This is
being achieved through the adaptation of international technology, in
particular from Westinghouse into new Chinese designed reactors. In the
process, the Chinese nuclear industry will reduce or eliminate the role of
the foreign companies whose capabilities established the first wave of

The other part of the Chinese strategy is to create an export
industry, with the plan focused on a range of countries lacking resources
of their own and, in most cases, also lacking the technical skills to
develop their own indigenous nuclear skills.

The leading Chinese nuclear
company, the China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN), formerly the China
Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, joined the French state company Electricite
de France (EDF) in the U.K. in funding a third of the Hinkley Point
project. Their aim was to secure the opportunity to go on to build, own and
operate a Chinese reactor in Britain, beginning with a new plant at
Bradwell in Essex. China, by pursuing its industrial aspirations, is
creating a set of relationships and alliances, making full use of the fact
that power supplies are crucial for the day-to-day operations of economic
life. In the modern world, this is the way in which empires are built.

May 10, 2021 - Posted by | China, Pakistan, politics international, technology

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