On Friday, China began operating its first domestically produced nuclear reactor, which marks an important stage on its road to independence from Western technology.
The “Hualong Wan” (Hualong I) reactor, which was linked, Friday, to the national electrical grid, could produce about ten billion kilowatt hours per year each year, while reducing carbon emissions by 8.16 million tons, according to the China National Nuclear Corporation. In this way, China will break “the monopoly of Western technology at the nuclear level,” according to what the National Nuclear Corporation said in a statement.
China’s nuclear plants only met 5 percent of the country’s electricity needs during 2019, according to the National Energy Administration, but this share is expected to increase in line with the goal set by China to neutralize the carbon footprint by 2060.
Reducing dependence on Western technology in strategic sectors such as the nuclear sector is a central objective of the Chinese strategy outlined in the “Made in China 2025” plan.
Billions of dollars in public aid were distributed to Chinese companies in order to achieve this goal, pursuant to a policy that angered China’s trading partners, and was behind the outbreak of a trade war with the United States.
The construction of “Hualong Wan” began in 2015, and China is currently building six more reactors in China and abroad, according to the authority.
China has 47 nuclear plants with a total capacity of 48.75 million kilowatts, which puts it in third place in this regard after the United States and France.