Let A Thousand Reactors Bloom
"China's economy is expanding fast, straining against the limits of its current capacity for creating or importing energy -- and pumping out some of the world's worst air pollution. The plan? Go nuclear. This year China announced its intention to build 30 new nuclear power facilities by 2020, and a team of Chinese scientists told Beijing that by 2050 China could require 300 gigawatts of nuclear output -- compare that to the 350 gigawatts produced worldwide today. While the Chinese government is aggressively building traditional liquid-cooled fuel rod nuke plants, it's also pouring research money into a new design for so-called pebble-bed reactors. According to Chinese scientists, these cutting-edge reactors would be meltdown-proof and could be built quickly and cheaply using off-the-shelf, modular parts. Some enviros don't trust the safety claims, and of course there's that pesky problem of what to do with the waste that results from nuclear power generation. Still, a small but growing contingent of environmentalists say we'll have to resort to nuclear to fight off climate change."
Thanks to Grist Magazine