Nuclear energy to play bigger role in combating climate change: Chinese diplomat
China believes that in the fight against climate change, nuclear energy will play a bigger role as a low-carbon, green and clean base-load energy, a Chinese diplomat said here Tuesday.
Nuclear energy's low level of live-cycle carbon emission "makes it a key solution to cutting emissions," said Wang Qun, Chinese envoy to the United Nations (UN) and other International Organizations in Vienna, at a side event of the ongoing International Conference on Climate Change and the Role of Nuclear Power.
"Despite the twists and turns in the way of utilizing atomic energy, we are convinced that the atomic energy is one of the greatest discoveries in the 20th century that lay a solid foundation for sustainable development of mankind," Wang said.
"The Chinese government supports the IAEA's (International Atomic Energy Agency's) goal of Atoms for Peace and Development. And China, for its part, will work closely with the agency and other members to develop nuclear energy in a sound, steady, and sustainable way," he said.
China has taken multipronged steps to make the energy structure clean, low-carbon, safe and efficient, and the transition of its energy production and consumption has been subsequently brought to a new level, he said.
In 2018, for example, China's carbon emission per unit gross domestic product (GDP) decreased 45.8 percent from the 2005 level, meeting the annual target with a reduction of 5.26 billion tons of C02 emission. In the same year, the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption reached 14.3 percent, he said.
At present, China has 47 nuclear power units in operation and 11 units under construction. 10 units have been put into operation since 2018, among which the first global projects of the Evolutionary Power Reactor and the AP1000 (a nuclear pressurized water reactor using advanced passive safety systems) achieved commercial operation, Wang said.
Smooth progress has been made in the demo projects of the Chinese indigenous HTR (a high-temperature gas-cooled pebble-bed generation IV reactor) and HPR1000 (also known as Hualong-1, a pressurized water nuclear reactor) technologies, both at home and abroad. The design and review of small modular reactors and floating reactors are also proceeding well, he said.
"In the light of our national energy plan, we will continue to develop nuclear energy in a safe, efficient and sustainable manner and further increase its share in our primary energy," Wang said.
"We will, in a spirit of win-win cooperation, contribute and share, with other countries, our experience and technology, and provide Chinese nuclear energy solutions accordingly," he added.