【G Times】 A “Time Bomb” Hidden Behind the Great Leap Forward of Nuclear Power

Author/Picture: Giselle Translation: XiaoYu

According to the US CNN report, a leak may have occurred at the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong, Communist China. At present, French Electric EDF, the second largest shareholder, has turned to the US Department of Energy for help, while China Nuclear, the largest shareholder, is still trying to cover up this information.

The Taishan Nuclear Power Station is located in Chixi  Town, Taishan City, Jiangmen City, Guangdong Province. It was put into use in 2018. The planned installed capacity is four 1.75 million kilowatt-class PWR nuclear power units, constructed in two phases, a large-scale nuclear power plant operated under the umbrella of a Sino-French joint venture.

In phase 1, the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant constructed two European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR) nuclear power units with a single unit capacity of 1,750MW, a joint investment and commissioning effort by the China General Nuclear Power Group (CGNPC) and EDF, responsible for construction and operations. Taishan Nuclear Power Plant is owned by a joint venture of Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Co. Ltd., of which China General Nuclear Power (CGNPC) accounts for 70% and EDF (EDF) accounts for 30%. The latter’s subsidiary company Framatome provides EPR technical support.

Ignoring risks of safety hazards

The Chinese Communist Party’s, nuclear power Great Leap Forward known as the super 5-year law; catching up to the United States in 14 years, nuclear power plants are popping up everywhere. But safety is not considered at all. Calamity is only a matter of time.

Nuclear power expert Wang Yongqing once said in a media interview that the site selection of nuclear power plants is relatively demanding. Generally, remote lying, less populated locations are selected. A 15-kilometre out-of-bounds radius is drawn up, classified “no man’s land”. At the same time, a safety zone of 50 square kilometres must be demarcated, and there are many other criteria. The requirements include meeting relevant geological conditions… nuclear power plants cannot be built on soft geological areas or seismic zones.

The accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan was a result of No. 1 and No. 2 nuclear power plants, with a designed earthquake safety limit of only 7.9 magnitude, encountering a magnitude 9 earthquake. Nuclear power projects planned in China’s Chongqing, Shandong and other places face similar risks.

For example, the Chongqing Municipal Government, together with the Power Investment Corporation, plan to invest 100 billion yuan to build nuclear power plants. However, Chongqing is located above several large fault zones such as Yingshan, the stretch from Changshou to Guizhou’s Zunyi, and places like Pengshui have structural background of moderately strong earthquakes. The largest earthquake in Chongqing’s history occurred in Qianjiang in 1856, just a little more than 150 years ago, with a magnitude of 6.25. Like the Chongqing project, there are also strong doubts about the Rushan County nuclear power project in Shandong due to geological and environmental issues.

Experts know that nuclear power plants must withstand seismic levels of 8 or even 9, but that will require an astronomical cost. Therefore, faced with such huge conflict of interest, CCP nuclear power experts have always steered clear of these numbers.

Hidden dangers created by a high degree of monopoly

According to a report from NetEase Financial on March 15, 2011, China’s nuclear power development has long been controlled by China National Nuclear Corporation, China General Nuclear Power Corporation and China Power Investment Corporation. Large power groups such as Huaneng, Datang, Huadian, and Guodian can only invest in nuclear power projects and develop nuclear power plant sites through equity participation. The Nuclear power construction pie has been dominated by the above-mentioned monopolies. For example, the Hubei Xianning Project, Hunan Yiyang Project and Jiangxi Pengze Project, which are expected to become the first batch of inland nuclear power, are respectively led by China General Nuclear Power, China National Nuclear Corporation and China Power Investment Corporation.

According to media reports, China’s nuclear power strategy is currently being tested in coastal areas and then implemented  inland (mainly in the Yangtze River Basin). However, the local governments of Jiangxi, Hubei, and Hunan in the Yangtze River basin are actively competing to become the “first batch of inland nuclear power plants” without the official approval of the state. Chongqing, Sichuan, and Anhui follow closely striving to become the second echelon. According to expert analysis, local governments are keen on nuclear power, besides intending to solve the problem of energy shortage, they also have high hopes for economic spin-offs from these investments.

On September 2, 2020, Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council presided over an executive meeting of the State Council and approved the Hainan Changjiang Nuclear Power Phase II project and Zhejiang San’ao Nuclear Power Phase I project. The total effective investment of the two major projects exceeds 70 billion yuan, which will drive a large number of jobs.

The huge profit pie is also prone to problems such as multi-level subcontracting, quality control loopholes, and security risks.

At present, there are 49 nuclear power units operated by the Communist Party of China, spread across Zhejiang, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Liaoning, Fujian, Shandong, Hainan, Guangxi and other places. There are also high-temperature air-cooled experimental reactors and China experimental fast reactors in Beijing. Most of these areas are economically developed and densely populated areas.

Once a nuclear accident occurs, it is not a question of how many will die, but a question of how many generations it will  affect. Those highly radioactive materials in nuclear waste have extremely long half-lives. Typical examples include uranium-238, which has a half-life of 4.45 billion years, and plutonium-239, which has a half-life of 24,000 years… and 10 milligrams of plutonium can be fatal.

The no-man’s land and deformed creatures caused by the Chernobyl accident that year had far-reaching effects. Nuclear power plants cannot be accomplished by technology alone. They also put the moral and conscience of a country on trial because nuclear power plants require not just precision technology, but also a series of rigorous support such as engineering construction, operations and maintenance, and environmental safety, in order to be as safe as possible.

(The contents of the article only represents the author’s personal views )

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