The intense manufacturing globally may be making life easier and perhaps better. However, we can not completely ignore the strong toll that this is having on the environment. Most of the natural resources that are necessary for these processes are depleting. Furthermore, there is environmental degradation as well as other environmental issues that this process causes. Some environmentalists have been fighting against the indiscriminate exhumation of natural resources. In recent times, there have been advocates by some environmentalists for the shutdown of nuclear power plants. However, according to Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, the shutdown of nuclear power plants is “anti-human”, and the move is “crazy” for national security.
“Countries should increase nuclear power generation! From a national security perspective, shutting down nuclear power is insane and bad for the environment,” Musk tweeted.
Some Twitter users agree with him. “Nuclear energy is clean, efficient and, if accepted, could completely replace fossil fuels. But so-called environmentalists don’t. It’s an act against humanity.”
Musk replied: “Some people are indeed pathetic ‘anti-humans’.”
Of course, Elon Musk companies makes use of a lot of resources that these environmentalists wants the government to stop.
The U.S. is shutting permanently shutting down some of its power plants
A report to the US Congress last year showed that the US has permanently shut down 12 nuclear reactors since 2012. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, 203 reactors have been shut down, generating a total of 98,000 megawatts. But aside from warning of population collapse, which he sees as a bigger threat to humanity than global warming, Musk has been a firm proponent of nuclear power as a renewable energy source. This is even important in the face of skyrocketing oil and gas prices following the Russia – Ukraine conflict.
In a March interview, Musk was outspoken about his support for nuclear energy, which he believes will be critical until other energy sources such as solar can be more reliable. Elon Musk said “I want to be super clear. Not only should nuclear power plants not be shut down, but nuclear power plants that have been shut down should reopen. These are the fastest ways to produce energy. It’s crazy to shut down nuclear power plants right now.”
He adds: “If there is no large-scale natural disaster risk, as in Germany, then nuclear power plants are really not at risk.”
China ranks second in the world in the number of nuclear power units
On August 9, the International Nuclear Engineering Conference held. The theme for this conference was “Nuclear Energy Innovation for a Carbon Neutral Future”. The conference was jointly opened in Beijing and Shenzhen under the auspisis of the Chinese Nuclear Society. Tang Bo, deputy director of the National Nuclear Safety Administration and director of the Nuclear Power Safety Supervision Department, revealed at the opening ceremony that by the end of June 2022, China had 54 nuclear power units in operation. These nuclear power units has a total installed capacity of 55.78 million kilowatts, ranking third in the world. Furthermore, there are 23 more nuclear power units which have approval and are in construction. With these, China retains its top position in the world in terms of nuclear power expansion. However, considering the overall number of nuclear power units in operation and under construction, China is second in the world.
Wang Shoujun, chairman of the China Nuclear Society and chairman of the conference, said that it is expected that between 2022 and 2025, China will further accelerate the expansion of the installed capacity and maintain the approved start-up rhythm of 6 to 8 nuclear power units per year. In 2025, the installed capacity of nuclear power operations will reach about 70 million kilowatts. By 2035, China’s nuclear power will account for 10% of total power generation.
China currently has the third-generation nuclear power technologies such as Hualong No. 1 and Guohe No. 1. In April this year, two units of the first overseas project of China’s Hualong No. 1 project were fully complete and put into operation. At present, Fuqing Units 5 and 6 of the Chinese demonstration project of Hualong No. 1 and Karachi Unit 2 of the foreign demonstration project have been put into commercial operation successively.
More nuclear projects are ongoing
Despite the numerous cries and agitations by environmentalists, more nuclear powr plants are in development. Back in June, the CNNC Sanmen Nuclear Power Phase II Project officially started. The first tank of concrete was poured into the nuclear island reactor of China Nuclear Power Sanmen Nuclear Power Unit 3, a subsidiary of China National Nuclear Corporation, marking the official start of the second phase of the Sanmen Nuclear Power Plant.
China National Nuclear Corporation stated that its subsidiary, China Nuclear Power has completed and put into operation 11 nuclear power units in Qinshan Nuclear Power Base and Sanmen Nuclear Power Base in Zhejiang. It has also successively mastered the key core technologies of 300,000, 600,000 and 1 million kilowatts of nuclear power.
Among them, the Sanmen Nuclear Power Base plans to build 6 million kilowatt-class pressurized water reactor nuclear power units. Unit 1&2 of the first phase of the project was connected to the grid for commercial operation in 2018. The have a cumulative safe power generation of over 60 billion kWh. According to reports, after the two units of the second phase of the Sanmen Nuclear Power Project are complete and put into operation, the total capacity of the Sanmen Nuclear Power Plant will reach 5 million kilowatts. Furthermore, the annual power generation capacity will reach 40 billion kilowatt-hours. This is equivalent to an annual emission reduction of 30 million tons of carbon dioxide.