China is building 29 nuclear reactors, 40% of the world's total

China flag nuclear symbolFlag of China/Public Domain

While right now wind power has overtaken nuclear in China, and wind should keep growing rapidly, it takes a lot longer to build a reactor than a wind turbine, so these number will likely look different over time. Even though the Chinese government temporarily suspended new approvals after after the Fukushima disaster, China's nuclear industry (which over there basically means an extension of the central government) is forging ahead with 29 reactor projects, 4 of which have been approved since after the nuke moratorium was lifted in November.

This represents 40% of the world's total number of reactors under construction, significantly ahead of Russia, India, and South-Korea.

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Right now, nuclear only represents 2% of China's electric power generation, compared to 19% in the U.S. and 75% in France. Once the reactors that are in construction come online, probably along with others that will be approved in the future unless China changes its energy policy, that number should shoot up, though to what percentage of total will depend on many factors (economic growth is probably #1 on the list).

Business Week writes:

China is likely to become the first country in which new reactor designs are built and tested at full size. Chief among them is the AP1000—AP stands for “advanced passive”—designed by Westinghouse Electric, the U.S. company now majority-owned by Japan’s Toshiba. The AP1000 is, in theory, safer than previous models because it has an 8 million-pound water tank perched on its roof; in the event of a power outage or generator failure, it provides an emergency cooling system powered by gravity for up to three days—a window of time estimated to be long enough to avert a meltdown. “The operator doesn’t have to do anything,” says Sandy Rupprecht, who runs business and project development for Westinghouse. (source)

Via BusinessWeek

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