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China Slowing Nuclear Buildout In Response To Fukushima

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the safety-first dept.

China 109

Lasrick writes "Yun Zhou writes about the end result of China's long reconsideration of nuclear power safety in the wake of Fukushima. Important details about the decision to adopt designs created in China, and incorporate Gen III in those designs." The short version is that they won't be building more Generation II reactors, opting instead to only build Generation III reactors (which have passive safety systems). Instead of relying entirely on the AP1000, China is speeding up the design of their own Generation III reactors. Plans are still in place for 70GW by 2020, but that date will likely slip due to regulatory delays and the temporary construction moratorium.

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109 comments

Great... (4, Interesting)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 years ago | (#40500541)

Yet another area that China will be ahead of the US on before long. I realize that there's still a lot that the US has going for it. But it's feeling more and more like we are just sitting on our asses and admiring past achievements. It's getting rather embarrassing. Perhaps it's time to seriously consider learning Mandarin.

Re:Great... (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#40500801)

Yet another area that China will be ahead of the US on before long

The world economy is not a zero sum game. China's gain is not America's loss. When one nation makes progress, they tend to import more, and pull up other economies along with themselves. There is no rational reason for China and America to be rivals. But, unfortunately, there are plenty of irrational reasons.

Perhaps it's time to seriously consider learning Mandarin.

It is difficult. Especially the tones. For an English speaker, it is several times more difficult than picking up, say, Spanish. I have been working on it for years, and still get misunderstood whenever I talk to someone not used to a foreign accent. However, the writing system is actually fairly logical once you get used to it, and I can read and type (but not write) way better than I can listen or talk.

Re:Great... (4, Interesting)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 2 years ago | (#40500857)

There is no rational reason for China and America to be rivals
 
Access to scarce resources, including oil. Political/military influence in Asia (Japan, Korea, Taiwan etc). Human rights. China's vast industrial and military espionage programs against the USA. There are lots of things that USA has and China wants, rationally.

Re:Great... (5, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40500905)

That doesn't mean we have to be enemies, with the current administration building bases just a few miles off the Chinese coast. We should sell democracy through EXAMPLE not intimidation or bombing.

And also trade so China becomes dependent upon us and the rest of the world, and would not want to attack their profitable markets. The idea that we have to fight over oil and political/military influence only benefits the War industries. Not us.

Re:Great... (1, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 2 years ago | (#40500989)

"There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others." N. Machiavelli

By war in don't mean we should go to an actual war with China, but that we should use every advantage we have to secure and increase our interests, rather than playing nice until it's too late and it is they who hold the upper hand, because they won't be so nice.

Re:Great... (3, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#40501209)

"There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others." N. Machiavelli

Nonsense. There are far fewer wars today than ever before in history, despite a larger population. No where in the world are two nation states at war with each other. Other than tribal and sectarian violence, the world is at peace, and increasingly likely to stay that way.

Re:Great... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#40501863)

Um, we had a war between countries less than one year ago - when NATO intervened in Libya and fired shots on Libyan armed forces. Just because it was UNSC approved (and even that is disputed, since UNSC didn't give carte blanche to attack loyalist ground forces everywhere), doesn't mean it's not a war.

And today we're looking at very high likelihood of a similar intervention in Syria, and god knows how Iran is going to play out.

Re:Great... (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 2 years ago | (#40502165)

The rules haven't changed, only the circumstances, namely the existence of a global hegemony by a mostly benign power, the USA. As China grows to a status of a superpower it is naive to the extreme to not realize that it's interests will clash with ours in a million ways. It probably will never become an actual war, which would be too costly for everybody. Probably not even a new cold war. But some sort of intense rivalry for sure.

Re:Great... (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 years ago | (#40504905)

It probably will never become an actual war, which would be too costly for everybody. Probably not even a new cold war.

Which would mean that the rules have changed quite a bit, now wouldn't it?

Re:Great... (1)

bohmt (900463) | about 2 years ago | (#40503043)

North Korea is still at war with the South and with the US.

Re:Great... (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40501423)

>>>rather than playing nice until it's too late and it is they who hold the upper hand, because they won't be so nice.

Being afraid that everyone else (or just certain someones like China and Iran) is out to get you seems like some kind of psychological problem. Most human beings are no different from us, and just want to pursue happiness.

Re:Great... (1)

thereitis (2355426) | about 2 years ago | (#40502153)

As much as I'd like to believe that, that is the most naive thing I've heard in a long time. Just look at human history.

Re:Great... (2)

Green Salad (705185) | about 2 years ago | (#40502403)

Yikes! Most human beings are no different from us, and just want to pursue happiness. Problem is..."most human beings" are not those ones in charge. --Even in democracies. There's usually a ruthless dictator, a popularly-elected puppet, or an elite-installed symbolic leader and their agenda is most definitely NOT the same as "most people's." My family risked life and limb to escape to the USA from a communist country and I wish you knew more about how the world works.

Re:Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40503133)

Don't blame him. External enemies are great for national unity, and militarist nations like to have a population that holds such beliefs. It allows the people to accept suffering it otherwise wouldn't. In this case it's easy to see how irrational it is, as both China and the US have enough nuclear weapons to make a war between the two result in two losers (hence it can't happen, just like it didn't with the USSR).

Re:Great... (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#40501181)

Access to scarce resources, including oil.

We compete for these resources with Europe, Canada, Japan, etc. as well. But we don't consider them our rivals. There is a non-confrontational way to allocate resources: markets.

Political/military influence in Asia (Japan, Korea, Taiwan etc).

This is only an issue if we are already rivals.

Human rights.

We should express our concern, but ultimately, this is an issue that will be resolved by the Chinese people. America is not going to "fix" China, and it is silly to think that we can.

China's vast industrial and military espionage programs against the USA.

The military espionage is only an issue if we are already rivals. The industrial espionage is between companies, not countries. The biggest industrial spies in America are other Americans.

There are lots of things that USA has and China wants, rationally.

And most of these things we can both have. We need to learn to enlarge the pie, not fight over the size of each slice.

Re:Great... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 2 years ago | (#40501611)

Markets work because in general, the govs. do not interfere or manipulate them. China does so CONSTANTLY. They claim that they are capitalist, but they are anything but.

Concerning the spying, it absolutely is NOT between companies. China has massive spies working hard to locate our military secrets. I know. I have dealt with 2 already.
And there are more spies in America from China, then America even HAS. So, that garbage about our having loads of industrial spies, is total BS.

As to the enlarging the pie, I agree. But that is NOT what Chinese gov. is interested in. Always keep in mind that the average Chinese that you deal with, is MUCH MUCH more different from their gov. In fact, it is a wider gap than what we have here in the west. The Chinese gov. Is and will remain, committed to communism.

Re:Great... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40503175)

Markets work because in general, the govs. do not interfere or manipulate them. China does so CONSTANTLY. They claim that they are capitalist, but they are anything but.

Capitalism doesn't requires a free market. You can have capitalism in an anarchy, with a free market, and you can have capitalism under a heavy-handed government (e.g. Germany and Italy during the war). Same goes for other economic systems.

China has massive spies

Newsflash: so does everybody else. Spying, even between "friend" nations, is an open secret.

Re:Great... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40503467)

and you can have capitalism under a heavy-handed government (e.g. Germany and Italy during the war).

There was no protection of private property in those countries during the Second World War. You owned property only at the whim of the government. It looks like capitalism, but it's not.

Re:Great... (1)

careysub (976506) | about 2 years ago | (#40503875)

...

There was no protection of private property in those countries during the Second World War. You owned property only at the whim of the government. It looks like capitalism, but it's not.

Nonsense. Neither Germany nor Japan appropriated the property of its own citizens without providing for due compensation (just as did and does the U.S.). Being the losers in the war, the compensation may often have taken the form of script that turned out to be worthless after the war ended, but the notion that either government went around stealing its own nationals property is baseless.

In both Germany and Japan the great industrial capitalist corporations made fortunes, at least until the bombs started wiping out their assets.

Re:Great... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40504233)

Nonsense. Neither Germany nor Japan appropriated the property of its own citizens without providing for due compensation (just as did and does the U.S.).

I find it hard to believe that you are this ignorant of history. Nazi Germany started with the seizure or destruction of property of its Jewish citizens without compensation. Similarly, fascist Italy, not Japan allowed private property only if it served the whim of the government.

But since you mention Japan, it's worth noting that they took private property from zaibatsu that were out of favor with the central government.

All three of these governments had the common feature that you could own property, if you were in the favor of the government. If you weren't in favor, you often lost that property without compensation. As I understand it, this issue of control over property you own is the main difference between capitalism and fascism.

In Fascism, the ownership of property was a means to further the power of the state. You ran your business or whatever in the way that best served the state. Someone else decided what you did with that property or whether you got to keep it at all.

In capitalism, you have a great deal of freedom in both what you can own and how you choose to use it. The state is extremely restricted in what it can do with your property. They have to compensate you, if they take away your property. That sort of thing.

It is rather foolish to conflate these two systems especially given the well known history of the fascist governments.

Re:Great... (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 years ago | (#40505043)

As I understand it, this issue of control over property you own is the main difference between capitalism and fascism.

"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

In other words, in capitalism the people (or aristocracy or whatever) controls the government, which sets the conditions the corporations operate in, thus allowing the people (at least in theory) to set up incentives so that they'll further the public good. In fascism, the corporations and the government merge, and the entire state becomes in effect one giant corporation with no oversight whatsoever. A fascist state treats its citizens exactly like a corporation treats its employees: they're cogs in a machine, and if they get redundant or start causing trouble, it gets rid of them.

Obviously a fascist state is not going to respect the property rights of its citizens any more than their other rights, but that's a symptom, not the cause.

Re:Great... (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40505523)

Obviously a fascist state is not going to respect the property rights of its citizens any more than their other rights, but that's a symptom, not the cause.

I was distinguishing between fascism and capitalism. Capitalism doesn't require many of those other rights either. For example, the US prior to 1860 and Athens of ancient times were both democracies and capitalist based economies, but with substantial slavery. A capitalist society can be quite undemocratic with a mostly private elite that is allowed to own property and such, and a general population that is considered property.

Re:Great... (2)

Bert64 (520050) | about 2 years ago | (#40503489)

The gov interferes in markets all the time, copyrights and patents for instance are government interference in the market.

Without rules imposed by government, corporations would become extremely ruthless and would be abusing even more than they are now...

Re:Great... (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about 2 years ago | (#40503563)

When a gov. sets a minimum pay that foreign minority owned businesses must pay, while any 100% local owned gov (and not allowed to have any foreign investment) have a max pay that is less than the other, that is about forcing local companies to do better.
When a gov. puts up a 50% tariff on a single foreign company for cars imported OR PRODUCED LOCAL unless they turn over all of their patents to all of the 100% Chinese owned companies, that is not about stopping ruthlessness.

The list goes on and on.
Chinese gov's action is not about regulating markets. It is a communist gov. making sure that they remain in power. It is a gov. in a cold war with the west.

Re:Great... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#40505475)

Chinese gov's action is not about regulating markets. It is a communist gov. making sure that they remain in power. It is a gov. in a cold war with the west.

The difference between American Capitalism and Chinese Capitalism:
In America, corporations lead the government around by the nose
In China, the government leads corporations around by the nose

We can debate whether that is better or not, but it's hard to argue that China's methods are not effective.

Re:Great... (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#40505795)

The Chinese are fundamentally unable to understand "enlarging the pie". To them, there is only one pie, and any gain must come from someone else's slice. The "grow the pie" thing is a uniquely American attitude.

Ask any Chinese child if they are rivals of America. They'll tell you hell yeah.

Re:Great... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#40501343)

Oh, get some pimsleur CDs, and just listen to them. They'll be really basic for you, since you already know a lot, but the act of listening and repeating over and over will improve your accent a LOT. And your understanding.

Re:Great... (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about 2 years ago | (#40501539)

China is a rival to the west, because the Chinese gov. see themselves as being in a cold war. This is clearly evidenced by China's manipulation of their money, their subsidizing and dumping on foreign markets, and their blocking western imports EXCEPT for resources.

Re:Great... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#40501563)

The world economy is not a zero sum game. China's gain is not America's loss.

Its GE and Westinghouse's loss. While we sit on our collective *sses, not building anything, China is building its skill set. Eventually, when other countries want nuclear power, they'll go shopping around for suppliers. How many nukes have we built lately?

Granted, our NIMBYs don't stop our manufacturers from bidding on overseas contracts. But that isn't a protected market like the USA is.

Re:Great... (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 2 years ago | (#40502825)

Yet another area that China will be ahead of the US on before long

The world economy is not a zero sum game. China's gain is not America's loss. When one nation makes progress, they tend to import more, and pull up other economies along with themselves. There is no rational reason for China and America to be rivals. But, unfortunately, there are plenty of irrational reasons.

Perhaps it's time to seriously consider learning Mandarin.

It is difficult. Especially the tones. For an English speaker, it is several times more difficult than picking up, say, Spanish. I have been working on it for years, and still get misunderstood whenever I talk to someone not used to a foreign accent. However, the writing system is actually fairly logical once you get used to it, and I can read and type (but not write) way better than I can listen or talk.

While the economy isn't a zero sum game, strength of one candefinitely considerably reduce the other. For instance cheaper power leads to cheaper manufacturing and production costs which leads to a further diminishing of US production due to inability to compete (not that there is much US production left to diminish).

Re:Great... (5, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40500873)

Americans have been saying negative things about the U.S. and how it's "best days are behind it" since the Progressive Party was born in the 1880s. After the civil war they claimed it was the gilded age (looks like gold but not really; just gold-plated crap). They also whined about the end of the pre-war agrarianism and replacement by industrialism with bad work conditions.

In the 1920s there was a 1 year Depression, but things looked pretty good overall. But then we got hit by the 1930s Depression and some Americans started saying we should copy nations like Italy and Germany (seriously) who recovered almost overnight. In the 1950s they claimed we should be more like the Russians, after all they launched the first satellite. That must mean our schools suck!

In the 60s people complained we should "make love not war" and in the 70s people went nuts with drugs & disco trying to escape the hell of gas lines & stagflation. Reagan swept-in with a great deal of optimism, but soon people were claiming "Japan will buy all our land and buildings." (See the movie Rising Sun for an example of the 80s mindset.) Reagan responded by demanding we need to copy Japanese HDTV and other inventions to regain dominance.

The 90s was a crapfest with the Iraq War, terrorist attacks on WTC, Oklahoma City, and the USS Cole. The 2000s was more of the same. And NOW people are claiming the Chinese will buy-up all our land and buildings (I thought the Japanese were doing that in the 80s?).

Complain, be afraid, worry our best times our behind us. It's been the American way since the civil war. FUD is the true national passtime.

Re:Great... (3, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 2 years ago | (#40501009)

Would it be better not to worry and to be complacent and take what we have for granted? Didn't work out so well for the Romans.

Re:Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40501095)

What you want? That is what the MAINSCARE Media sell to Americans and they buy it .

Re:Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40501783)

Not just the national past time. The Athenians and Romans complained similarly--national decline, moral bankruptcy, etc.

Maybe it's universal, maybe not. But it certainly goes back a long way.

Re:Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40502883)

This is a fallacy. Just because people in the past made proclamations that turned out to be exaggerated or outright false does not mean that all proclamations made today are false as well.

Are we in a decline? When will our empire end? I'm not prepared to answer those questions, but history (that is, history that goes back much further than your examples) shows that these are iron laws. Our golden age will end. Our empire will fall. Relying on blind faith and a few examples of disproven doomsayers will not make it otherwise.

Re:Great... (5, Informative)

demachina (71715) | about 2 years ago | (#40500945)

Dictatorships tend to be a lot faster at doing just about everything. If they pick the right things to do and the right way to do it, its a win-win.

The problems only start when they decide to do the wrong things or pick the wrong way to do it, because then you are in deep shit.

One thing the Chinese have going for them is their central committee members tend to be degreed engineers and technocrats. That is head and shoulders better than the U.S. where the vast majority of the leaders are lawyers. Any time U.S. political leaders open their mouths they make technocratic dictatorships look pretty appealing.

Another Chinese advantage is they had, until recently, none of the drags associated with environmental protection, property rights, worker safety, etc. If they decide they want to do something it gets done really fast, while in the U.S. things like new reactors wallow in red tape for decades. The down side is they've made the place unlivable with pollution, they throw people off their land and out of their homes and business at a furios pace and they kill and maim a lot of workers.

Some other down sides the Chinese have going against them:

Its a freaking dictatorship, there is no way in hell I want to live under their system. Of course at the rate the rest of the world is rushing towards totalitarianism, the U.S. and U.K. in particular, there may not be many free places left to live much longer.

The corruption and deception in their system is truly horrible. If they don't figure out a way to fix their corruption problem it will eventually destory them. Thanks to their deception problem you can't believe a single thing you hear out of the place. Their economic data, and a lot of their economic miracle, is fabrication. The build stuff, and misappropriate massive amounts of capital just to hit targets set from above. Its stimulus spending gone mad. If they are still missing their targets then they just lie.

Most of their companies run multiple sets of books so you can't believe anything they say or any of their reports. They often collude with their banks so dedicated ourside auditors don't even catch the frauds, because the bankers will tell the auditors numbers matching the cooked books not what the company actually has.

Re:Great... (3, Interesting)

cheetah (9485) | about 2 years ago | (#40502917)

Basically everything you said is true.

The biggest advantage(and disadvantage) that I think they have from a political stand-point is the ability to make and then execute long term plans. It is something that is really missing with most of the democratic west. Granted, I don't think they always make good long term plans, heck often they do rather foolish things... but they can at least tackle problems that require long term solutions.

But I do think you are missing a one important point about China. You and I both agree that we wouldn't want to live with in dictatorship. But many Chinese feel that what they government has done has been for the best. Mainly due the the strength of the Chinese economy. While they do often fib on the exact numbers, it's impossible to discount that China has been growing the GDP at a rate of 10-15% per year for the last 20 years.

It's this fact more than any other that has won the hearts of the people in China. So much of the communist governments legitimacy is riding on ever increasing economic prosperity. If the economy faltered badly... who knows what would happen.

That is why the news from China isn't all that good. Most of the talk for the last few years has been about the "soft landing" that the Chinese Economy will soon make. It's just not possible for them to keep growing the way they have. It's much easier to grow a small economy than it is grow a large one. Most people expect that the "soft landing" will be a general slowing of the GDP growth rate to between 7-8%.

But over the last few months it's starting to become clear that China isn't getting a soft landing. As you point-out official numbers have been downright faked in the past. But metrics do exist that outsiders can look at and that have been reliable; for instance growth of electricity usage. In the past electricity use has closely followed the GDP. But it has basically been flat over the last 3 months. Other items point to a "hard landing" in China.

It's possible that this will all come to nothing and they won't slow that much... but I feel that long-term they can't have the massive corruption and mis-management if they don't also have the hugh GDP growth. I don't think the people would be nearly as happy with the government if they were frequently dipping into recession and had boughs of high unemployment like most other established economies. While also seeing the massive government corruption and mismanagement. Such periods of slow growth and recession are inevitable in the future even if they don't happen over the short-term.

oh please (2)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 2 years ago | (#40500955)

Yet another area that China will be ahead of the US on before long.

China slowing nuclear buildout!
"The Chinese are ahead of the US!"

(in an alternate article)
China increasing nuclear buildout!
"The Chinese are ahead of the US!"

Some people just like to say the US is 'behind', no matter what the issue or facts are.

Re:oh please (1)

slacka (713188) | about 2 years ago | (#40501093)

Some people just like to say the US is 'behind', no matter what the issue or facts are.

If you are going to quote, quote properly, they said "will be ahead", not "are". And you obviously cannot read the summary properly either, because it states that: " They won't be building more older Generation II reactors" ie China slowing nuclear build out! "The Chinese will be ahead of the US!" (in an alternate article) China increasing nuclear buildout! "They are increasing the deployment of newer, safer, more advanced Generation III reactors" ie "The Chinese will ahead of the US!" As an American, who has traveled back and forth between US and China for the past 6 years. I can tell you can be rest assured that China is not yet ahead of the US. However, China is rapidly gaining on the US technologically. Their government does not get bogged down in short term issues. They set 20 year goals and stick to them. And while they have their own problems, this relentless consistency has led them from a backwards 3rd world nation to a manufacturing super power that rivals the US. American had better get it together soon, or China will be ahead.

Re:oh please (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 years ago | (#40501487)

Yet another area that China will be ahead of the US on before long. China slowing nuclear buildout! "The Chinese are ahead of the US!" (in an alternate article) China increasing nuclear buildout! "The Chinese are ahead of the US!" Some people just like to say the US is 'behind', no matter what the issue or facts are.

How many nuclear reactors are under construction in the US right now? How many of those are generation III?

Re:Great... (1)

grumling (94709) | about 2 years ago | (#40501363)

Well, considering most people in the US are against nuclear power, I'm not the least bit surprised to see other countries (China and India) getting ahead of the US in energy production.

And we're not sitting on our past achievements. We're busy using 17th century solutions (wind) to 21st century problems. But when the Colorado river dries up and the western states go to war over fresh water, we'll wish we had a few dozen gigawatt plants that could desalinate seawater, instead of just getting by with wind turbines.

Why? (5, Insightful)

Das Auge (597142) | about 2 years ago | (#40500557)

Are they building their new nuclear reactors with 50 year old technology on fault lines next to an ocean with an insufficient battery back up? That would be the only reason a sensible person would look at the Fukushima and decide not to build a nuclear power plant.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40500671)

That was my thought, it's insane that anybody would think to build a nuclear reactor without passive safety systems, especially following the Chernobyl disaster. Passive safety systems won't completely guarantee safety, but they do help substantially with the over all safety of the system.

The news here is that anybody was still foolish enough to build nuclear reactors that only used active safety systems.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40500761)

The Chernobyl disaster was caused by human error tantamount to self inflicted sabotage after the idiots in charge of the experiment override the protection systems a few times, and even when the RBMK 1000 are relatively unsafe a dozen or so are still operational 25 years after the incident. Regardless of the technology used, if you override all security protocols because the red lights and the bleeps are annoying, the reactor is going to blow in your face, passive safety systems in place or not.

Re:Why? (3, Interesting)

tragedy (27079) | about 2 years ago | (#40500717)

It does say right in the summary that they are focusing on generation III reactors with passive safety systems. So they are specifically addressing the "50 year old" part you mention. I'm not quite sure what you mean by "insufficient battery backup", but I'm guessing you're referring to the problems powering and operating the cooling pumps. Addressed by the the passive safety systems.

Re:Why? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40500725)

They were planning to build reactors with 30-40 year old (Gen II) tech, presumably because they saw some cost savings in using a "proven" design. (No patent license fees, for example)

After the Fukushima incident, in which an older plant failed due to intrinsic safety flaws of its outdated design, they have reconsidered the merits of using older tech, and decided to use exclusively the newer tech (Gen III).

Re:Why? (1)

Fierlo (842860) | about 2 years ago | (#40501807)

You really think that patent license fees might be the kicker for building an older generation reactor? You really think that the cost savings come may come from this area?

Generally, the company building the reactor would also own any and all patents associated with it.

The purpose of building an older model is that you know the physics are well understood (it will produce power without modifications to the core), and the parts are mostly available (there is almost always some problems with obsolescence).

I understand that countries have reconsidered some planned construction after Fukushima, but it really is a defense in depth issue. Make sure your emergency generators cannot be incapacitated by an event. If they can, make sure you have spares a couple of hundred miles away that can be airlifted you very quickly.

The problem with Fukushima was the lack of preparedness for a disaster beyond what their design basis. As a result of the accident, all plants have developed methods of dealing with this accidents. They may not be perfect, but will provide much more defense in depth in the event of a beyond design basis accident.

Re:Why? (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#40502011)

The AP1000 is a Gen III reactor and has serious flaws
Here's a PDF documenting the flaws [ncwarn.org]
And a long video that goes over some of the details and some of the politics: http://vimeo.com/31897709 [vimeo.com]
I remember this from another /. thread about nuclear power

Politics and money are going to push through designs we know are not safe.
I hope the Chinese companies designing their own Gen III reactors can do better than Westinghouse.

The first one of those is still under construction (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#40502767)

The AP1000 is a Gen III reactor and has serious flaws

And that's even before the first one has fired up yet!

You expect problems with new designs, that's normal. Another problem we have here however when large numbers of a new design are committed to before the first one is even completed.
We've had a lot of people preaching about how wonderful the AP1000 is before any of them have actually existed let alone had time to shake the bugs out - salesfolk and fanboys swallowing the seed of salesfolk whole after being told how pretty and smart they are.

Re:Why? (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#40503313)

Actually the root cause of the Fukushima disaster was mismanagement and corporate greed that prevented them doing upgrades which would have saved the plant. They were warned of the issue, a solution existed, they just decided to make some more money by not accounting for what was thought to be a very unlikely event.

Considering how much corruption there is in China and their apparent inability to build and operate things like high speed rail safely I don't have much faith in their ability to design, build, operate and maintain nuclear plants. Even if the reactor was idiot proof and required no maintenance (which costs money) they still have to manufacture, handle and dispose of fuel/waste.

Re:Why? (1)

ildon (413912) | about 2 years ago | (#40500741)

I dunno man, of the countries I wouldn't trust to do nuclear power safely, China is pretty high up on the list. They have a pretty substantial history of shoddy workmanship primarily due to corruption and graft. I'd rather they take their time and implement it correctly, and make sure they're not selling asbestos powder as baby formula and shit.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40500819)

Asbestos powder baby formula is perfectly harmless as long as you don't inhale it. Quit with the scaremongering, please.

Re:Why? (4, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40500797)

Are they building their new nuclear reactors with 50 year old technology on fault lines next to an ocean with an insufficient battery back up? That would be the only reason a sensible person would look at the Fukushima and decide not to build a nuclear power plant.

Probably close to all 3 of the above actually.

Seriously.

That fault line isn't a valid building location? No problem sir, how much to 'move the fault line' on that map? Done and done. China has a big coast, that's most of their economic activity, and if not a coast, a major river (which faces essentially the same weird random shit happening problem). Things like safe materials and locations aren't high priorities when you can bribe your way to safety.

And 50 year old technology. Well are you going to sell them brand new technology? How new is our technology? For quite a while we weren't doing anything dramatically different with reactor designs in the west. So... maybe not a 50 year old design, but a design that is basically 40 years old? That wouldn't surprise me in the slightest.

There are lessons every reactor can learn from fukushima about, as you say, battery backups and various types of alternate power arrangements and so on. But their 'generation II' reactors in many cases are technology from the 50's through the 70's give or take some minor updating but the core reactor tech didn't change much. Fukushima Daiichi used boiling water reactors which, from the article, are generation 2 reactors. Which is what the chinese are phasing out.

Reactor technology didn't radically change much in the last 40 years, or even a bit longer than that. At least not in the core mode of operation (boiling water, gas cooled, pressurized water etc.). Add to that the fact that the chinese are probably doing a shitty job of actually building the reactors in some cases (where the japanese built it the way it was intended, the design just wasn't up to the disaster, would you want to have trusted chinese concrete with that problem too?) and you're begging for trouble. A lot of it.

If you read up on the AP1000... while I'd be confident of westinghouse building them properly in the US, there's a LOT that can go wrong with that design if people try and cut corners. If I were the chinese government I'd be thinking they aren't really the best plan given corruption. Lopping off the head of a corrupt official doesn't put 100 000 people back in their homes.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40501645)

Nope Fukushima's construction was Yakuza led (the poseurs who thinks tatoos are hardcore) and quite shoddy by all account, with pipping not joining properly and pulled together with prime movers while someone was welding.

Re:Why? (1)

Fierlo (842860) | about 2 years ago | (#40501849)

and if not a coast, a major river (which faces essentially the same weird random shit happening problem).

Really? You think a river has the same random shit happening? How many tsunamis have wiped out inland rivers? I'm sure you could find *an* example, but it is hardly representative.

Your entire "argument" is that everything the Chinese build is crap. Entirely worthless crap. They couldn't possibly be responsible for constructing and assembling large swaths of infrastructure in the USA, because

the chinese are probably doing a shitty job of actually building the reactors

Re:Why? (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40502211)

Really? You think a river has the same random shit happening? How many tsunamis have wiped out inland rivers? I'm sure you could find *an* example, but it is hardly representative.

Please don't confuse net effect with specific effect. A tsunami that happened to a specific location which combined with some particularly bad luck on creating a doubly tall wave etc was a disaster for fukushima. And that was the first time a wave that big hit that part of japan in at least several hundred years. But a river can have weird shit happen too. A burst damn could cut off or flood something. Major rivers do flood occasionally, sometimes quite catastrophically.

In 2010 http://news.discovery.com/earth/china-flooding-three-gorges-dam-photo.html is a bad, but not extremely bad example of flooding which pushed the 3 gorges dam close to its limit. If that dam fails a situation like the tsunami in fukushima would not be unheard of. Naturally a similar effect can happen on a smaller scale with any dam. Or just flooding. It happens.

Your entire "argument" is that everything the Chinese build is crap. Entirely worthless crap. They couldn't possibly be responsible for constructing and assembling large swaths of infrastructure in the USA, because

the chinese are probably doing a shitty job of actually building the reactors

No. That isn't. My argument is that the risk of reactor builders cutting corners in china outweighs their benefits when there is something inherently much more safe available that will be much less likely to fail, even with contractors cutting corners. The US has terrible infrastructure because they've deliberately chosen to do a bad job of re-investing in it. Whether china is the same way or not is irrelevant, because the scale of damage caused by any individual failure of generic 'infrastructure' is relatively little. It's not like China is the only place in the world with these problems either (http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/seoul-department-store-collapses for example). Or relatively near where I am (http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/06/29/dalton-mcguinty-calls-for-public-inquiry-into-elliot-lake-mall-collapse/). Corruption and intentionally being reckless isn't monopolized by anyone.

If the chinese were (re) building the infrastructure in the US and it had a 1% higher failure rate that would still be problematic, but it depends how much less money it costs and what the risks are. In china though, a reactor that's built badly would be a tremendous disaster. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Sichuan_earthquake Killed 68000 people. 68 000. There are a lot of people in china, so when stuff breaks a lot of people can die. If that earthquake cracked a nuclear reactor because someone had cut corners in building it you'd have a huge area rendered uninhabitable etc.

Suggesting everything made in china is crap is wrong. Everything made in china should be viewed as suspect. You have to weigh the risk of someone lying about the work they did with the costs and ability to verify. Within any country with corruption like there is in china the hardest part is enforcement. If foxconn ships me something that's not up to my spec, I ship it back. If some state owned power plant construction company is embezzling money off the top the only way you're going to find out is the hard way (and then what do you do about it in something like a nuclear reactor that is supposed to last 30 or 40 years).

And credit where credit is due to the leadership in china. They aren't fond of putting up with this. They recognize people have been corrupt and they're trying to do something about it. But when you set government policy you have to cope with the realities you have, not the ones you want. If this was the US I'd expect the project to be approved at one price, and actually cost 50%-100% more. If this was canada I would expect the government to lie about the projected cost by 50% and be wrong by another 50%. That's the world we live in, so you have to deal with that. If you're building a nuclear reactor the last thing you want is to find out that someone cut corners, it's broken and now you have a big area you need to evacuate, which in china could equate to millions of people.

If this was 30 or 40 years ago, well sure, you have to take the risk because you don't have a lot of options. Today? When you can build generation 3 reactors that are far more safe in an extra 2 or 3 years, that's a much better option.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40503015)

Please don't confuse net effect with specific effect. A tsunami that happened to a specific location which combined with some particularly bad luck on creating a doubly tall wave etc was a disaster for fukushima. And that was the first time a wave that big hit that part of japan in at least several hundred years. But a river can have weird shit happen too. A burst damn could cut off or flood something. Major rivers do flood occasionally, sometimes quite catastrophically.

The error with this reasoning is that the Fukishima builders knew of the risks but largely chose to ignore it. Intentionally cutting corners on safety, as you like to mention below. It's immaterial that there hasn't been a tsunami of that magnitude in a relatively short while; there was nothing to suggest that it wouldn't happen (or would be extremely unlikely) again within the lifespan of the reactor's operating time. That's a flimsy excuse.

A river can flood, yes, but with nowhere near the same magnitude of flooding that is known to occur on Japan's geography and topgraphy. Further, the risks of something specific like a dam burst can be easily mitigated by not building so close to one.

Re:Why? (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40505245)

The error with this reasoning is that the Fukishima builders knew of the risks but largely chose to ignore it.

And? That's not even factored into my reasoning. The chinese are definitely expecting contractors to ignore risks, whatever the problem that caused the fukushima reactor to not be up to the task, no one wants to cope with the aftermath of that error.

A river can flood, yes, but with nowhere near the same magnitude of flooding that is known to occur on Japan's geography and topgraphy

That's just simply not true. It depends on the river, and what happens. The sichuan earthquake had landslides causing mini lakes, some rivers can over flood by 10 metres, and again, building a safe location away from a dam is all well and good if you actually do it. But if you can bribe your way into a different safe distance calculation what happens?

With fukushima you can't necessarily blame tepco, they might have known that something on the scale that happened there was something to design for, or they might not have. But whatever that problem was, the reactor wasn't able to handle it, and now it's a matter of figuring out what to do with a reactor that's a wreck. In the case of china they're figuring (probably correctly) that even if the reactor builders know risks they're likely to not be up to the task. And then what?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40501973)

Yes, China was building Gen II (ie. more like Gen 2.5) plants next to the ocean in earthquake areas,

1. because it is cheaper, AND
2. they couldn't get the Gen IIIs all certified and ready for buildup in time for their timeframes (ie. 5-year plan type of stuff)

All this information is kind of OLD NEWS to anyone that has anything to do with nuclear. China indicated that they will favour stoppage of approvals of Gen 2 and move to Gen 3 designs ahead of schedule. This was within weeks of Fukushima incident. They have also indicated they will no longer build in potential tsunami zones and build inland on rivers instead.

So overall, this is a positive step in China regarding nuclear safety.

This should not affect overall Uranium market in the near term or long term. Only medium term (a decade or maybe 15 years) is affected slightly.

That makes sense... (-1)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#40500561)

,,,They aren't quite so certain of the technology they stole.

Re:That makes sense... (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#40500749)

Well the US does not have any Gen III reactors. So you dont have to worry about pesky Chinese using stolen American technology.

Re:That makes sense... (3, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40500815)

Stole? They're using AP1000 reactors from westinghouse. That's not theft, that's called buying. Now to get the contract Westinghouse agreed to a join project with the chinese on a new reactor design that the chinese will own the domestic IP to, but export is still westinghouse. Which is what is otherwise called a technology transfer or sale of technology.

They're probably figuring building them in china, with corrupt chinese workers and officials is a recipe for disaster.

Re:That makes sense... (3, Insightful)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | about 2 years ago | (#40500867)

There seems to be a strange sentiment among some that "they" (i.e. everyone they don't like) should have to reinvent the wheel for any thing they do, ignoring of course how their own countrymen came about the knowledge in question in the first place. Knowledge belongs to humanity, not to the arbitrary groupings of humans called countries and companies.

Re:That makes sense... (3, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40500917)

Knowledge costs money to produce. Hence we have IP laws. If you design nuclear reactors for a living giving away your work with no ownership protection will put you out of a job very quickly. Westinghouse has (correctly) figured that the reactor business is go no where in the US, so they're basically willing to cannibalize any future business they could have had to get money now from the chinese, and then it becomes chinas problem if no one will buy the reactors. All those Westinghouse workers should expect to be out of a job within the decade.

Quite a lot of people have fought, bribed and died over the borders of countries, they mean quite a lot to a lot of people. Even the company that pays me is important in that I don't have any money if they don't pay me.

Re:That makes sense... (2)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | about 2 years ago | (#40501127)

The deal is voluntary, if Westinghouse don't want to agree to China's terms they don't have to sell them anything.

Re:That makes sense... (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40501217)

Yep. It's their knowledge to sell if they want.

Re:That makes sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40501485)

Knowledge costs money to produce. Hence we have IP laws. If you design nuclear reactors for a living giving away your work with no ownership protection will put you out of a job very quickly. Westinghouse has (correctly) figured that the reactor business is go no where in the US, so they're basically willing to cannibalize any future business they could have had to get money now from the chinese, and then it becomes chinas problem if no one will buy the reactors. All those Westinghouse workers should expect to be out of a job within the decade.

We'll see. There are actually 4 nuclear reactors being built now in the US. Plus all the reactors in service need support from the people who designed it. Throughout the power industry, people are retiring MUCH faster than new college grads are being brought in. Its a problem, but it is definitely not a "I'm worried about my job" problem.

Oh, and Westinghouse is owned by Toshiba [wikipedia.org] these days. I think they are keeping the Westinghouse brand because of the history and brand recognition- Toshiba nuclear reactor technology was never applied much outside the Japanese domestic market until very recently. Westinghouse of 20 years ago was basically broken up quietly. Siemens got the fossil (coal/natural gas) steam turbine division, Toshiba got the nuclear division (including nuclear reactors), and the rest (consumer electronics, etc) went to various places. Toshiba and Siemens did a decent job bringing the Westinghouse portions into their business, but the other various places seem to be milking the brand for all it is worth- Westinghouse-branded LCD TVs have abysmal reviews on pretty much any site that reviews them for example.

Re:That makes sense... (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 2 years ago | (#40500977)

how their own countrymen came about the knowledge in question in the first place.
 
By hard work and spending a lot of money on research?
 
  Knowledge belongs to humanity
 
Not really. It belongs more to the people who put in the effort and money to acquire it than to those who didn't. Otherwise it is foolish to do your own research and smart to copy others' research.

Re:That makes sense... (1)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | about 2 years ago | (#40501103)

By hard work and spending a lot of money on research?

And you think the knowledge required to perform that research came out of nowhere? It was based on a knowledge-base built and shared through thousands of years by all matter of possible nationalities, ethnicities, creeds, etc.

Not really. It belongs more to the people who put in the effort and money to acquire it than to those who didn't. Otherwise it is foolish to do your own research and smart to copy others' research.

"Copying" other peoples research is the very definition of how science progresses, "standing on the shoulders of giants" and whatnot. Or are you proposing that Westinghouse developed all the knowledge required to build nuclear reactors?

--
Socialism is slavery.

Define socialism, then we'll talk about this idiotic signature...

Re:That makes sense... (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40501241)

By hard work and spending a lot of money on research?

And you think the knowledge required to perform that research came out of nowhere? It was based on a knowledge-base built and shared through thousands of years by all matter of possible nationalities, ethnicities, creeds, etc.

Built on, but wasn't. I'm a professional scientist. My job is to do something new on top of what other people did. Quite a lot of what other people did has to be paid for. In many cases that work was paid for by governments so it could be public (including my work) but there are huge volumes of knowledge owned by and produced in the private sector.

Not really. It belongs more to the people who put in the effort and money to acquire it than to those who didn't. Otherwise it is foolish to do your own research and smart to copy others' research.

"Copying" other peoples research is the very definition of how science progresses, "standing on the shoulders of giants" and whatnot. Or are you proposing that Westinghouse developed all the knowledge required to build nuclear reactors?

No, it isn't. Science progresses by adding to previous work. It isn't just collecting other peoples ideas, it's adding a new idea that adds something new or novel that no one else did before. You have to acknowledge what other people did so as to not imply their work was yours.

Obviously his 'socialism is slavery' thing is nonsense. I agree with you on that one.

Re:That makes sense... (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 2 years ago | (#40502143)

The progress in science or any other field does not happen simply by collecting the previously known facts and putting them together. Only a person who has never had an original thought in their head would believe that.

As for my "idiotic" signature, do they have dictionaries in Sweden? If so, please take your head out of your ass and look it up.

"The short version is ..." (3, Insightful)

ubrgeek (679399) | about 2 years ago | (#40500581)

Wish more stories on /. started that way. ;)

Re:"The short version is ..." (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#40503369)

I agree, the user submitted summaries are usually highly biased and full of weasel words. It's nice to see the /. editors making some effort to provide a NPOV.

Good for them (1)

scottimus (1954836) | about 2 years ago | (#40500791)

Perhaps in the next China hosted Olympics they won't have to rush to sweep air pollution under rug

Re:Good for them (2)

siddesu (698447) | about 2 years ago | (#40500833)

And maybe they won't need any street lights, too, as everything will glow anyway.

Not surprised they are going this. (4, Interesting)

MtViewGuy (197597) | about 2 years ago | (#40500835)

After all, there are several parts of China that are quite earthquake-prone and given what happened at Fukushima, the Chinese will definitely build reactors with passive safety features so the reactor can be safely shut down even after a strong earthquake.

That's why China is aggressively pursuing molten-salt reactor technology such as the liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR), which are extremely safe to run even in areas of substantial earthquake danger. (It also helps that China has a large stockpile of thorium--a side product of their aggressive rare-Earth mining program. They Chinese might as well put good use to all that thorium.)

Re:Not surprised they are going this. (2)

Julz (9310) | about 2 years ago | (#40501021)

Yeah I wish that this had been the direction that everyone had gone back in the 50's. The US had that option but of course weaponisation was a key part of the economy and security back that way. So here we are staring down the barrel of a loaded shotgun wondering if it's loaded this time round. Thorium reactors might not be 100% clean but at least the result is far easier to store and contain and the reaction stops when you flick the switch so to speak. This is one of the times when I say "Go China!"

It didn't quite stop (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#40502783)

India picked up the torch on Thorium a few years back and expanded on the US work. Australia's sales of Uranium to India may have derailed it to an extent and made dual-use (military products from civilian reactors) reactors viable there again but the Thorium projects could survive that.
China seems to be trying a bit of everything for their energy mix and don't have to pretend their military installations are civilian, so Thorium might take off there as well.

Re:It didn't quite stop (2)

nojayuk (567177) | about 2 years ago | (#40503157)

India has no large deposits of uranium ore so it has gone for rather clumsy uranium-plutonium-thorium power reactor designs. It is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty so it shouldn't be getting any international help with their nuclear programme, things like uranium imports, technology transfers etc. but the US decided a couple of years back to ignore the NPT and start helping them out in that regard with a pinky swear that the Indians won't transfer the tech or materials to their weapons programme, really honest to Shiva.

Any country with a workable weapons plutonium breeding operation uses purpose-built reactors, not uranium power reactors to make their bomb material. There were a couple of clumsy dual-purpose designs early on in the history of power reactors (Magnox and the Russian RBMK-4) which allowed time-limited exposure of U-238 to neutron flux to produce marginally-pure Pu-239 but nobody builds or uses them today and few nuclear weapons were made from material produced by those reactors.

The other thing is that after having bred enough plutonium for an arsenal of weapons there's no real point making more so the idea that countries build tested and proven uranium reactor designs rather than thorium-uranium burners or complex and unproven flow-thorium reactors because of their wish for weapons-grade plutonium is kinda silly. The US for example has over 70 tonnes of weapons-grade Pu in stock, the result of stockpile reductions and better weapons design requiring smaller amounts of fissionable material. Britain has over a hundred tonnes in stock, I believe, and the old Soviet states have been selling their own surplus Pu-239 weapons pits to the West to be burned up in power reactors as Mixed-Oxide (MOX) fuel.

The LFTR designs can be easily tweaked to produce U-233 (indeed the precursors have to be actively removed from the "exhaust" to prevent it forming). U-233 works well enough as a bomb core as the US found out when it fired off a couple of test samples in the Fifties and a continuous-process system such as LFTR makes it much easier to remove U-233 during regular operations to create a stockpile of weapons-grade material.

New players are joining the "game" (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#40504305)

There were a couple of clumsy dual-purpose designs early on

You forgot Indonesia, at least 10 years ago anyway. I'm not sure what Egypt is doing with theirs. How did Pakistan get their material again? So what's Iran doing? Turkey wanted to run a CANDU reactor this way, or maybe it was just fears that they would which got it rejected. I'm sure there's others where a a fairly transparent civilian coating is sitting on top of a military program. India themselves got their material for their first bomb from a modified CANDU didn't they?
What I should have said however is shipping Uranium to India is likely to take the focus off the Thorium technology (as you said, still "clumsy") and onto some parts of the Uranium infrastructure that can also be used for military purposes, or less sinister but still a step backwards, stop pushing the cutting edge themselves and just buy old Uranium technology from China or wherever.

Re:New players are joining the "game" (1)

nojayuk (567177) | about 2 years ago | (#40504757)

CANDU and other heavy-water power reactors have to be tweaked during the fuelling cycle to produce sufficiently pure Pu-239 without adding lots of Pu-240 which makes it useless as bomb material. The British Magnox and Soviet-era RBMK-4s were designed from the ground up so they could be run with very short fuelling cycles to reduce the Pu-240 levels in the fuel rods while their stated purpose was power generation. I think the US used Magnox-bred plutonium in one of their mid-50s test shots to see if power-station-derived Pu could be weaponised but it was moot since the Hanford reactors were churning out as much weapons-grade Pu as they could expect to need.

Fast-spectrum reactors expose U-238 metal targets to neutrons in a short pass through the core to breed almost-pure Pu-239, essential for "small-ball" cores that can be launched on missiles. Both India and Pakistan have such reactors for this purpose -- they're not too difficult to build and operate assuming they can get MEU to fuel them. Pakistan at least also had a weapons-grade HEU production facility.

Signatories to the NPT have to accept international inspectors on site at operating reactors to prevent fuelling cycle modification and possible diversion of materials for covert weapons development. India and Pakistan, like North Korea and Israel can do what they like as they are not NPT signatories.

Re:New players are joining the "game" (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#40505091)

CANDU and other heavy-water power reactors

Such as CIRUS, the source of material for India's first atomic bomb, for instance?
My own government's Federal cabinet papers from 1968 (Australia) show a desire to purchase a CANDU reactor and tweak it in such a way as to use it for weapons production. While it was a stupid and expensive idea for a country such as Australia (and the cabinet may well have been full of idiots that got it all wrong, they certainly got other stuff wrong), aparently Argentina for one was a bit more serious about the idea.
Anyway, for what it's worth Ron Finch argued in "Exporting Danger" that CANDU reactors can be modified to be used to produce relatively large amounts of military material, whether he's correct or not I do not know.

Re:It didn't quite stop (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | about 2 years ago | (#40504421)

If I remember correctly, while using uranium-233 as the main fissile material in a bomb worked, the amount of uranium-233 needed was quite a lot, which defeated the purpose of such a weapons design compared to a "fissile" trigger based on uranium-235 or plutonium-239 (one major achievement of Los Alamos and Livermore National Labs was the dramatic reduction in the size of nuclear warheads, very necessary since the USAF relied on smaller planes for nuclear weapons delivery by 1970 and of course to keep the ICBM/SLBM re-entry vehicle size reasonably small for the Minuteman ICBM and the Posideon/Trident SLBM).

Re:Not surprised they are going this. (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 2 years ago | (#40501401)

I would be more concerned with dam failures. The biggest dam disaster in history in terms of fatalities happened in China several decades ago when there was a cascade failure there. Between that and the gargantuan amounts of coal they burn to generate electricity, nuclear power is panacea.

irrepressibly irresponsible (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about 2 years ago | (#40501247)

Given China's long history of lack of quality control and commercial frauds, nuclear power in China could be a double edged sword in their fingers.

China lacks the moral authority for nukes (0)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | about 2 years ago | (#40501297)

Building and maintaining nuclear power plants for safe operations requires a transparent and incorruptible regulatory system. China's ongoing official dishonesty and systemic corruption leaves them without the moral authority to run a safe nukes program.

Re:China lacks the moral authority for nukes (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#40501523)

Funny. That's what I said about our local utility.

They never got their nuke project off the ground. And the company finally folded as a viable investor-owned utility. Contractors do the construction and maintenance and the core business was bought out by a Canadian outfit.

They killed too many linemen by cutting corners. Thank goodness they never were given responsibility for their customers' lives.

Re:China lacks the moral authority for nukes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40502031)

Building and maintaining nuclear power plants for safe operations requires a transparent and incorruptible regulatory system. China's ongoing official dishonesty and systemic corruption leaves them without the moral authority to run a safe nukes program.

Here in Canada, we just had a shopping mall collapse in central Ontario where the botched rescue operation is being described as a national disgrace much like Katrina.
The system is chock full of good for nothing fatcats on the take.
I don't really think the west has the moral highgrounds to be preaching to anybody right now.

Re:China lacks the moral authority for nukes (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | about 2 years ago | (#40504741)

> I don't really think the west has the moral highgrounds to be preaching to anybody right now.

Well, I'm not a metaphor for the west. I'm a citizen of earth. If I see injustice, I call it out. I'm not going to look the other way about Chinese corruption just because it also exists in Canada.

Thorium (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40501299)

Why not just build thorium reactors?

Re:Thorium (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40501427)

they are. google it.

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What a joke (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 2 years ago | (#40501527)

China was going to buy loads of tried and tested GE reactors if they shared the tech with them and moved the construction there.

NOW, they are saying that will create their own reactors and walk away from GE's reactors. Yet, I bet anything that they expect GE to continue producing their reactor there and exporting. And I wll bet that a reactor just like it will show up being produced on the other side of town, called the China Nuke CN1000.

Re:What a joke (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#40502799)

China was going to buy loads of tried and tested GE reactors

Sorry to be a prick and show you up as a liar here, but the closest thing to a running AP1000 reactor is the yet unfinished one in China that GE is building. It's not tried and tested by any stretch of the imagination.

What? (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | about 2 years ago | (#40504015)

What does a prefecture on the northeast coast of Japan have to do with China's nuclear power ambitions? More posturing from world governments over nuclear power 'dangers'?

I hear people say "Oh, the nuclear disaster!" It's over. There is no disaster, and honestly there never was a nuclear disaster. The radiation is quite well-contained, and unless you live within a block or two of the plant, there really isn't any danger.

All of the stories about "Oh! Fukushima's reactor is DOOOOOOM!" are hyperbole, exaggerations, and outright lies by the media to milk one more story from a dead event. Japan's reaction of shutting down all reactors was nonsense as well - just some dumb politician overriding a scientist trying to persuade him not to do stupid things like shut down all nuclear power(which some of has since been restored to meet demand).

Re:What? (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | about 2 years ago | (#40504461)

I know that at least 3-4 reactors in the Kansai (Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe) and Chuubu (Nagoya) regions have been restarted in order to provide power for the factories in that region, mostly because of worries of the need for "rolling" blackouts if the reactors weren't restarted.

Re:What? (1)

nojayuk (567177) | about 2 years ago | (#40504893)

Two reactors, the no. 3 and 4 units at Ohi on the coast north of Nagoya are being prepped for restart at the moment and they should be online by mid-July delivering about 2.25GW into the Kansai grid. All the other reactors currently shut down by inspection and refuelling requirements are either undergoing or awaiting confirmation of the results of their paper "stress test" exercise and the go-ahead from local and national authorities before they can do the same.

I figure once the Ohi reactors are running and nothing bad happens then the rest will gradually be brought back on-line as opposition dissipates.

I've Seen All of This Before (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 2 years ago | (#40505147)

Take out "China", and insert "Soviet Union." Then go to local library/archives and read newspapers from the 1950's to the 1970's.
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