Nero Fiddles: China’s Nuclear Power Push Threatens Any Country Still Toying With Wind & Solar

America’s retreat from Afghanistan has left the door wide open to an increasingly belligerent China.

China takes itself very seriously on every front; whether it’s the question of military power or power, period.

Building coal-fired power plants, hand over first, the CCP couldn’t give a fig about CO2 emissions of the kind that have weather-warriors and policymakers constantly fretting and fiddling.

Where countries like Australia and Britain have deliberately destroyed their once affordable and reliable power generation and delivery systems, thanks to an obsession with heavily subsidised and thoroughly unreliable wind and solar, the Chinese are hellbent on providing cheap and reliable electricity to every industry, business and household. And so they should be: it defines a prosperous and civil society.

In addition to building a staggeringly impressive coal-fired generation capacity, the CCP has also dedicated itself to building dozens of nuclear power plants. And, more recently, has commenced building the first commercially viable Small Modular Reactors. There are, of course, some 200 of them already in service on ships and submarines all around the world. But creating the environment to build them at the scale and cost necessary for an energy hungry industrial powerhouse requires patience and commitment, something that Western governments have long lost.

As Dr John Constable points out below, where the West’s obsession with unreliable wind and solar is a threat to our very existence, it’s become a golden opportunity to China that the CCP isn’t likely to forego.

Boris Johnson’s wind delusion poses national security risk
The Global Warming Policy Forum
John Constable
20 August 2021

London, 20 August – The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) today urged Boris Johnson to respond firmly to China’s increasingly threatening geopolitical power shift by accepting that the government’s prioritisation of wind and solar energy is now standing in the way of an effective and affordable energy system based on natural gas and Small Modular Reactors (SMRs).

Without moving towards a thermodynamically competent and thus affordable generation of both heat and electricity, the United Kingdom, and the West more generally, will rapidly concede global economic leadership and political dominance to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

This is no mere theoretical speculation. In the last few days, the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has commenced construction of the first Small Modular Reactor (SMR), based on China’s own ACP100 (Linglong One) Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) design, and with a capacity 125 MW.

Reports predict a 95% load factor, and an annual output of 1,000,000 MWh of electrical energy.

China has some 19 other nuclear power stations under construction.

The degree to which China is dominating nuclear power construction can be gauged from this striking graphic being widely circulated in the industry:

Figure 1: Global nuclear reactor construction from first pouring of concrete to grid connection. Labelled reactors took longer than 5,000 days, sorted by first concrete. TMI = Three Mile Island. Source: ©Grant Chalmers

In spite of some encouragement in recent announcements (“Government progresses demonstration of next generation nuclear reactor”), there are concerning signs that Mr Johnson’s government does not fully appreciate either the potential or the urgency of ensuring that SMRs are deployed more rapidly to prevent China from dominating the global market for nuclear generation, as well as reaping the rewards of the cheap energy it will provide to industry.

Global electricity demand will more than double by 2050, with this growth almost entirely in developing and emerging markets. The global market for nuclear power could triple by 2050, but as Britain and the US go green they are fast losing the race for the nuclear power market to China and Russia. Source: Third Way – Mapping the global market for advanced nuclear

For example, the government’s Hydrogen Strategy published earlier this week acknowledges the potential for the use of nuclear power for high temperature electrolysis and the probably superior thermochemical routes to the production of hydrogen. However, it simultaneously proposes the creation of an elaborate subsidy mechanism, based on the Contracts for Difference scheme, to support high cost renewable methods producing so called “Green” Hydrogen.

This would in effect provide yet more non-market support for the wind industry, a sector that already costs UK consumers about £6.1 billion a year in subsidy (£1.7 billion to onshore wind; £4.4 billion a year to offshore).

Government has not yet decided on the details of the subsidy scheme, but it seems likely that it will be funded from a levy on natural gas consumption, presenting yet another regressive burden on British households.

The creation of further subsidies in the energy sector is not only undesirable, but also needless. Small Modular Reactor (SMR) designs actually available for construction today have the potential to deliver both warm electrolysis and the very high temperatures needed for the thermal decomposition of water.

Both routes would produce low cost and genuinely subsidy-free hydrogen for use in decarbonised transport and heat, not least industrial process heat where low-cost energy is critical to retaining and expanding industrial manufacturing in the United Kingdom in the face of intense and strategically motivated competition from Chinese firms.

In order for the UK economy to remain competitive and to head off China’s bid for nuclear energy dominance, radical reform of the UK Govt’s unsustainable and self-defeating green energy priority is urgently required.

Dr John Constable, GWPF energy spokesman, said:

The fundamental physics of nuclear energy indicate that it is inherently more productive and thus cheaper than renewables can ever be. It is also low emitting. China’s engineer bureaucrats understand this very well. Mr Johnson’s advisors do not appear to grasp even the basics of the matter.”

Dr Constable is the author with Dr Capell Aris, of the GWPF publication, The Workable Alternative to Net Zero (2021) which proposes a gas to nuclear plan for cleaner, reliable and affordable energy.
The Global Warming Policy Forum

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September 4, 2021 at 02:30AM

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