Nuclear Futures Seem Dim

The Chinese city of Liangyungang seems to have a bright economic future ahead of it. As a vibrant city on the eastern coast of China with easy access to Taiwan and Korea Liangyungang is a rising center of industry, foreign trade, and tourism.

Liangyungang on a clear sunny day

The Chinese government recently released a statement to the residents of Liangyungang that they are planning on constructing a new nuclear power plant within city. Needless to say, after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan the residents of Liangyungang are worried about their own futures.

The need for this nuclear power plant is clear, as most of China’s energy is generated through coal power. The mass production of coal in China causes environmental degradation, and countless respiratory diseases. However, growing concerns about rapid nuclear power plant construction throughout China in recent years, and the ongoing challenge of disposing of nuclear waste, have not been addressed either. The current system of state regulations of nuclear power plants in China doesn’t allow for tight oversight of health and safety standards.

Although there is a need to adapt to new sources of energy, rapid production of nuclear power plants doesn’t seem to be the best answer to China’s dilemma. According to this article in the Economist, there are currently 36 reactors in China in operation alongside another 20 reactors still under construction. However, even the plants that are currently operating are experiencing technical difficulties with operating components. Quality problems with pump-valves have caused plants to shut down unexpectedly.

With all this in mind, is China heading in the right direction by constructing more nuclear power plants? Should they wait for better technology?

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