Journal Article - Energy Policy

Why is China Going Nuclear?

| July 2010


In November 2007, China's State Council approved its "Medium- and Long-Term Nuclear Power Development Plan", which set as a goal to increase the nation's nuclear capacity from about 7 to 40 GWe by 2020. In March 2008, the National Development and Reform Commission suggested installed nuclear power capacity might even exceed 60 GWe by 2020 due to faster than expected construction. Even with this growth, nuclear power's share of China's installed total capacity would be only about 5 percent. Yet China's rapid nuclear expansion poses serious financial, political, security, and environmental challenges. This study investigates China's claim that nuclear energy is necessary to meet its growing energy demands by analyzing China's energy alternatives and assessing their likelihood of contributing to total Chinese capacity. By looking at China's transformative energy policy from several perspectives, this study finds that nuclear energy is indeed a necessity for China.

For more information on this publication: Please contact International Security
For Academic Citation: Zhou, Yun. Why is China Going Nuclear?.” Energy Policy, vol. 38. no. 7. (July 2010):

The Author