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How China became the king of new nuclear power, and how the U.S. is trying to stage a comeback

By illuminem briefings 🌎

Aug 31 2023 · 1 min read

Illuminem Voices
Energy · Power & Utilities · Nuclear

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on CNBC or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: China is the global leader in new nuclear construction, with 21 nuclear reactors under construction, a capacity equating to more than 21 gigawatts of electricity
• China's scale of nuclear reactor construction is 2.5 times larger than any other country
India and Turkey are in second and third place, respectively

🔭 The context: Historically, the U.S. dominated the nuclear sector
• The U.S. currently operates 93 nuclear reactors with a capacity exceeding 95 gigawatts
China began its nuclear foray in 1985 as the U.S. nuclear industry started its decline

🌏 Why it matters for the planet: China's robust nuclear expansion meets its energy needs while mitigating environmental impact, given nuclear energy's low greenhouse gas emissions

⏭️ What's next: The U.S. could reclaim its leadership in the nuclear sector
• With recent bipartisan support for nuclear energy, the U.S. is investing in small modular and advanced reactor technology, viewing them as the future of nuclear power

💬 One quote: "China is the de facto world leader in nuclear technology at the moment" (Jacopo Buongiorno, professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT)

📈 One stat: China's total energy output soared from 1,280 terawatt hours in 2000 to 7,600 terawatt hours in 2020

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