Why is China rolling out fossil fuel power stations and not nuclear ones?

China’s a nuclear power. It’s got severe electricity problems. It’s rich. So why’s it building so many coal-fired power plants when it could build nuclear ones?

  1. China is not rich.
  2. Coal plants are much cheaper to build.
  3. They are building a fair amount of nuclear ones also.

Time. It is much faster for them to build and supply a fossil fuel plant than a nuclear one. They need the power now. When it is less of a crisis they might slow down on the coal plants and speed up on the production of nuclear plants.

China has abundant (for now) coal deposits and coal power is well entrenched. Further, China would prefer that western governments offer them new technology for cleaner energy as opposed to trying to develop this technology at their own cost. No, that isn’t just a cynical opinion, that is paraphrased from China’s dept. of energy.

Even when western govts try to give them cleaner technology like coal gassification plants, they still build the old-style ones instead. This is due to bureaucratic inertia as much as anything else. And there’s so much pressure on the region administrators to get things running now that they’re going with what they can do quickly.

An additional factor is that it’s cheaper to produce and train coal plant operators than it is to produce and train operators for nuclear plants.

Coal plants also have longer design lifetimes than nuclear plants. (Neutron embrittlement of pressure vessels seems to establish an upper end to any nuclear plant’s operational lifetime.)

They also have a lot of coal, uranium not so much.

Nuclear plants take a long time to built. Then they have to worry about the USA syndrome.

Well, the technology given has to be cleaner AND cheaper. Cheaper now… not just in the long view.