Why is CHINA betting on NUCLEAR POWER? – VisualPolitik EN


Nuclear power is like adult entertainment…
a lot of people say they don’t like it but, then, you find it all over the place. Maybe you thought nuclear power wasn’t fashionable
anymore. Maybe you thought that after the Fukushima
disaster, the whole world was showing its back to nuclear power. Well… the opposite is true. In fact, if you’re watching this video from
America, the UK, or any European country, chances are, you’re consuming nuclear power
at this very moment. And I know what you’re gonna say now… Come on, Simon! You’re exaggerating! It’s not like most countries have nuclear
power plants. Right? In fact, there are only 30 countries with
nuclear reactors. This means, just one out of 6 or seven countries
have it. But think about it… many of those countries
are really small. And, as you can imagine, VANUATU doesn’t
have the same power needs as CHINA. If we’re talking about the biggest economies,
those with membership in the G20, only 5 of them have no reactors. And of those, Turkey is starting to build
their own facilities and Italy imports 10% of their energy from the nuclear plants in
France. So let’s face it… most wealthy countries
use nuclear power. And the emerging ones… are starting to join
the club too. Especially China. You see, there are three indicators for determining
whether a country will adopt nuclear power that go hand in hand. Economic growth, more power demand, and more
pollution. So imagine for a moment Chinese factories,
demanding more and more energy. Add to this the heavy migration from villages
to cities and… Boom! All of a sudden we have thousands of offices,
factories, malls and millions of Chinese citizens turning on their lights at the same time. Cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen
make most American cities look like a small village in the Alps. So imagine how much energy they need. Of course, this explains why China is becoming
a green energy Disneyland. They can’t stop building solar panels, wind
turbines and hydroelectric plants. Year after year, China is leading investment
in renewable energy sources. And you would think that, after Fukushima,
they’re no longer interested in nuclear, right? Well… again, wrong. Look, according to the International Atomic
Energy Agency, Asia is where half of all new reactors are being built. And we’re not talking about 3 or 4… in
total, more than 27 reactors are currently being built, and most of them are in China. And I know what you’re thinking. Well, China’s a dictatorship, right? So the only reason they’re building so many
reactors is because they don’t need to listen to their people. They can do whatever they want. Again, wrong. Asian citizens are largely in support of nuclear
power. Let’s look at Taiwan, for example– a democratic
country. Here, they made a referendum to close their
reactors and their citizens said no. Even in Japan, the land of Fukushima, we’re
seeing news like this. Japan court rejects lawsuit against construction
of nuclear plant So the question is… why? What happened with nuclear power that Asians
and, particularly, the Chinese, are so excited about? What are the main companies involved in this? Is it a good or a bad idea? Today we are going to answer all of these
questions but, before we do, let’s take a look back at the history. THE SLEEPING DRAGON
Do you remember the dragon, Smaug, from The Hobbit, sleeping on top of a mountain of gold? Well… in Mao Zedong’s China, Mao was that
sleeping dragon. But, instead of sleeping on wealth and treasure,
he was sleeping on rice. China was poor and agricultural, and this
how it remained for decades. During those times, China was too poor to
buy the insanely pricey technology needed for nuclear plants. At the beginning of the 90s, China had no
reactors whatsoever. In 1990, the power mix in this country was
20% hydroelectric and 80% fossil fuels, mainly coal. But then, in 2017, things changed. Of course, China still relies on its coal. But not as much. Why? Look, coal produces the most pollution of
any energy source. This explains why Beijing is so famous for
its smog and for people having to wear masks. And don’t get me wrong, this pollution won’t
change in the near future. Especially with news like this. China coal power building boom sparks climate
warning Think about it: the only natural resource
China has is coal. So they can’t stop using it just like that. But there is a problem. Coal and hydroelectric produced enough power
during Mao’s time. But in just 20 years, energy consumption in
China has multiplied by 10. So they need other sources of energy badly. And this is why, in just 27 years, China has
built 40 brand new reactors. That’s already more than Russia has. So we could say that the sleeping dragon is
now wide awake. But, OK, OK, we said that China is investing
a lot in green energy so… why do they still need nuclear? Let’s have a look! HUNGRY FOR URANIUM
Smaug the dragon, loved gold. The chinese dragon loves uranium. Right now, China is building 11 brand new
reactors with a greater capacity than all of the United Kingdom’s reactors. But wait a minute because this is nothing…
just look at the expectations for 2030! China set to overtake U.S. as biggest nuclear
energy nation, IEA says I know what you’re thinking. All of these predictions are after the Fukushima
incident in 2011, which was caused by a tsunami that hit a nuclear power plant in Japan: a
huge catastrophe, forcing thousands of people to move, turning the water toxic, and making
death a real and present danger. So… why does China keep investing in nuclear? Isn’t their green energy enough? Well… here’s the important thing… the
key point when we’re talking about energy is that… hardly any of it can be stored! Maybe in the future, lithium batteries will
improve, but currently, it is very expensive to store electricity on a large scale. And this is the main issue with green energy. Solar panels are good but… what happens
at night? Wind turbines are great but… what do we
do when there is no wind? Add to this what we said before: so far, China
relies too much on coal because they don’t have to import it. But this causes a lot of pollution. So what are the alternatives? Well, what about gas? Right now, China imports 40% of the gas they
use. And you know all the political problems this
creates. We have a whole series of videos covering
the gas wars. Besides, gas in Asia is very expensive because
of things like this. Japan spot LNG price hits 3-year high in Jan
Basically, China is constantly competing with Japan to attract all those ships with liquified
natural gas. And this has increased the price a lot. So there’s only one alternative: NUCLEAR. It’s efficient, people can use it all day
long and, as counter intuitive as it sounds, it is less polluting. But wait a minute because it’s not that
simple! You see, if you wanna have nukes, you need
two things: some very expensive technology and… uranium! And uranium isn’t something you can go buy
at the supermarket. So how is china doing it? We’ll tell you right now. MADE IN CHINA
China is famous for copying products from the West. So yes, you can imagine what we’re gonna
say now. What did China do to import nuclear technology? Learn from the best! In the beginning, they started working with
the French nuclear behemoth, FRAMATOME, which you might know by their old name, AREVA. They also made deals with the American Westinghouse
and the Russian Rosatom. This was during the 90s. But what happened in the 2000s? Well, China went to all these companies and
said ‘OK, guys, from now on, next to any of your engineers, there must be a Chinese
engineer’. This is how China gained all of the technological
secrets from the best nuclear companies. Yes, you’re right… nobody negotiates better
than the Chinese. So, after 10 years, the third generation of
Chinese manufactured nuclear reactors is already here! China Set to Fire Up World’s First AP1000
Nuclear Reactor Yes, now China can build its own reactors
without the help of foreign companies. And, even if the American Westinghouse wanted
to expand their presence in the Chinese market, they would have a really hard time because
of news like this. Westinghouse Could Be Hurt by New U.S. Curbs
on Nuclear Exports But still, there is one thing you cannot copy. And this is URANIUM. Nuclear power plants need uranium as fuel. And China does not naturally have this resource. So they must import it. But, again China is great at making deals. The world’s main uranium producer is Kazachstan. They produce 40% of all uranium on the planet. And China already takes 50% of that. They also have some agreements with Canada
and they’re trying to do the same with Australia. But… OK, this is the easy part. What makes China so special is their ability
to make deals even in the most challenging places… China buys Rio Tinto’s stake in Namibia
uranium for $107 million China gains ground in Niger to get uranium
to increase their nuclear production So, in summary, “made in China” has expanded
to the whole World. But not only that! China’s affordable technology is making
nuclear power available in places where it was impossible to imagine before. For example, the crown jewel of this brand
new industry, the HUALONG ONE reactor, will be used in countries like ARGENTINA and PAKISTAN,
which are going to start using more and more nuclear power too. But this isn’t just about the emerging world! The state owned Chinese nuclear company is
participating in the construction of a brand new reactor in the United Kingdom. But this is a story for another video. Because, as you might have already guessed,
this is just the first chapter of another series of videos we’re going to release
about the comeback of nuclear power. If you don’t wanna miss this, don’t forget
to subscribe and hit the bell button, so you won’t miss any posts. In the meantime, now it’s your turn… Where do you think these Chinese nuclear ambitions
will lead? Do you think they’ll keep building nuclear
plants, or will they focus most of their efforts into developing more green energy? Please, leave your answer in the comment section
below. Also, don’t forget to visit RECONSIDER MEDIA.COM,
the podcast that provided the vocals in this episode that were not mine. If you liked this video, give us a thumbs
up and, as always, I’ll see you next time.

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