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China Power Hardware Science

China Slowing Nuclear Buildout In Response To Fukushima 109

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the safety-first dept.
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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China Slowing Nuclear Buildout In Response To Fukushima

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  • Great... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by The Grim Reefer (1162755) on Friday June 29, 2012 @07:20PM (#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... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday June 29, 2012 @07:55PM (#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... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Friday June 29, 2012 @08:06PM (#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... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by cpu6502 (1960974) on Friday June 29, 2012 @08:15PM (#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: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by clarkkent09 (1104833)

            "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... (Score:4, Interesting)

              by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday June 29, 2012 @09:13PM (#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.

              • 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.

              • 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.

                • by ultranova (717540)

                  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?

              • by bohmt (900463)
                North Korea is still at war with the South and with the US.
              • by Uberbah (647458)

                Nonsense. There are far fewer wars today than ever before in history, despite a larger population.

                If you're making a selective comparison and leaving out Africa, the Middle East and chunks of Asia, maybe.

            • by cpu6502 (1960974)

              >>>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.

              • 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.
              • 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... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday June 29, 2012 @09:08PM (#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.

          • 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 p
            • by Anonymous Coward

              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.

              • by khallow (566160)

                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.

                • by careysub (976506)

                  ...

                  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 w

                  • by khallow (566160)

                    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

                    • by ultranova (717540)

                      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 fasc

                    • by dryeo (100693)

                      America had no problem taking Americans of Japanese descents property during the war as well and currently has no problem taking peoples property now (look up civil forfeiture).

                    • by khallow (566160)

                      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.

                    • by khallow (566160)

                      America had no problem taking Americans of Japanese descents property during the war

                      Didn't happen that way. Property was lost or sold at a loss due to the internment of Japanese Americans, but it wasn't taken by the US government.

                      currently has no problem taking peoples property now (look up civil forfeiture).

                      There still has to be a pretext, namely, that the property was used in the commission of a crime.

                    • by khallow (566160)
                      It's also worth noting that the US isn't by definition capitalist. That society can very well change so that the definition of capitalism no longer fits. Remember the initial post that started this particular discussion was the assertion that certain fascist Second World War governments were capitalist. I merely corrected that. My posts in no way asserts that the US will always remain capitalist.
            • by Bert64 (520050)

              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...

              • 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.
                Chine
                • by TubeSteak (669689)

                  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.

                  • In China, the gov. IS the business. Any major business there is 100% owned by the gov. or is owned by somebody that belongs 100% to China (IOW, they report to the party and vs. versa). The fact that 'foreign-owned' businesses mean that the business is actually MAJORITY owned by a Chinese speaks volumes. If a company has 5 Chinese owners, of which the largest has 20%, the most that a foreign company can own is 19.999%.

                    So, as to China's methods being effective, so were hitler's, pol pots, Stalin, etc. And
                • by Bert64 (520050)

                  The chinese government is acting to benefit its own interests, the fact that those benefitting are members of the communist party rather than owners of large businesses is fairly inconsequential.

                  If anything, the chinese government is actually serving its purpose better because at least their actions are aimed at benefitting chinese people, as opposed to many other governments which bend over backwards to benefit foreign corporations.

          • 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.

      • 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.
      • 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.
      • by PPH (736903)

        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.

      • by bloodhawk (813939)

        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... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cpu6502 (1960974) on Friday June 29, 2012 @08:09PM (#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... (Score:5, Informative)

      by demachina (71715) on Friday June 29, 2012 @08:20PM (#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... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by cheetah (9485) on Saturday June 30, 2012 @04:03AM (#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.

    • 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.
      • by slacka (713188)

        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 Ameri

      • 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?

    • by grumling (94709)

      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 tur

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Das Auge (597142) on Friday June 29, 2012 @07:22PM (#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? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tragedy (27079) on Friday June 29, 2012 @07:43PM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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).

      • by Fierlo (842860)
        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)

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        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 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 b

        • nuclear engineer here. going through this document, there are a lot of things which are just flat out incorrect or misleading. I don't disagree that some parts of the AP1000 plant may need some more looking, but the article is not descriptive enough over what specific conditions there are issues with. Having read the entire design control document series for the AP1000 and knowing what type of organization fairwinds is (run by Arnie Gunderson, not the most reputable source for factual nuclear information),
      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        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, o

    • by ildon (413912)

      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? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sir_Sri (199544) on Friday June 29, 2012 @07:55PM (#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.

      • by Fierlo (842860)

        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 chin

        • by Sir_Sri (199544)

          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.co

  • by ubrgeek (679399) on Friday June 29, 2012 @07:26PM (#40500581)
    Wish more stories on /. started that way. ;)
    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      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.

  • Perhaps in the next China hosted Olympics they won't have to rush to sweep air pollution under rug
    • by siddesu (698447)
      And maybe they won't need any street lights, too, as everything will glow anyway.
  • by MtViewGuy (197597) on Friday June 29, 2012 @08:02PM (#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.)

    • by Julz (9310)
      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!"
      • 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.
        • by nojayuk (567177)

          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 progra

          • 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 fro

            • by nojayuk (567177)

              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-st

              • by dbIII (701233)

                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 wa

          • by MtViewGuy (197597)

            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 I

    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • by PPH (736903)

      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.

  • 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.
    • by dbIII (701233)

      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 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, exaggerat

    • by MtViewGuy (197597)

      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.

      • by nojayuk (567177)

        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

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

2.4 statute miles of surgical tubing at Yale U. = 1 I.V.League

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