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As Beijing’s interest in renewable and non-traditional sources of energy grows, Chinese companies are demonstrating their interest in untapped nuclear energy markets, according to new reports emerging from the region.
Nuclear power investments in Silk Road countries could amount to a $580 billion market, Wang Shoujun, the chairman of China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC) told reporters on Monday.
“About 72 countries have been or are planning to develop nuclear power, among which 41 are along the Belt and Road route, and most of them are still in the earliest stages of nuclear power development,” the business man observed.
“We estimate that if their nuclear energy were raised to reach development levels comparable to those of the U.S. or Japan, it would spawn a market worth [$580 billion].”
Chinese President XI Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, envisioning the unification of 65 countries in Asia, Europe, and Africa along ancient trade routes between the nations.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection has confirmed 36 operational nuclear reactors in China, with 20 more under construction. By the end of the decade, 58 million kilowatts of Chinese energy demand will be satiated by nuclear power.
The National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) tested the safety of China’s nuclear power program last year. Both groups found the country’s nuclear and radiation safety to be in accordance with international standards.
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An anonymous NNSA source told People.cn that China had maintained safe nuclear power operations for the past three decades, with zero incidents exceeding Level 2 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, which has seven levels total. The same official added that a shortage of space available to dispose of fuel and radioactive waste has limited the progress of the program, however.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…