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Research Report

United States-China Cooperation on Nuclear Power:: An Opportunity for Fostering Sustainable Energy Security

Blythe J. Lyons
John R. Lyman
Mihaela Carstei
Richard L. Lawson
Copyright Date: Mar. 4, 2009
Published by: Atlantic Council
Pages: 52
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. i-ii)
    Frederick Kempe

    The Atlantic Council of the United States, in collaboration with the US/China Energy and Environmental Technology Center (EETC) of Tsinghua University and Tulane University, hosted a Dialogue on U.S.-China Cooperation on Nuclear Power in Washington, DC on March 4 - 6, 2009. This event was the third in a series of U.S.-China Strategic dialogues on energy security which aim to contribute to the development of active cooperation and coordination between the United States and China on vital energy issues.

    An important step in this dialogue process is the development of a common understanding of each country’s energy outlook and energy-related...

  2. (pp. 5-6)

    In 2007, the Atlantic Council of the United States (the Council) partnered with the U.S./China Energy and Environment Technology Center (EETC) at Tsinghua and Tulane Universities to hold a series of dialogues to foster cooperation between the United States (U.S.) and China on increasing secure and sustainable energy supplies. Over the past several years, the Council and EETC have invited key organizations, experts from industry and government, and representatives from relevant U.S. and Chinese government agencies to become directly involved in these meetings designed to identify concrete recommendations for increasing official governmental and industry cooperation between the U.S. and China.¹...

  3. (pp. 7-16)

    China’s economic growth during the past decade averaged around 10% per year until the recession. Presently, China has Asia’s second largest economy and the world’s third largest by GDP.² China appears to be committed to maintaining an economic growth rate around 8% in order to ensure the country’s ability to simultaneously improve the population’s living standards and to absorb rural migration into the cities. (Growth in 2007 had hit a high of 13%.) Most of the world focuses attention on the tremendous increase in Chinese exports, particularly of consumer goods. However, China’s economic growth has been and is expected to...

  4. (pp. 17-22)

    The fleet of nuclear power plants being constructed in the U.S. and China now and for the next 20 years will be in operation potentially until the end of the 21st century. In the previous sections, the plans for assuring that nuclear power remains a viable, safe and secure power option were reviewed and evaluated. Both the U.S. and China are actively seeking to further the nuclear option to provide baseload power for growing economies without adding more carbon to the environment.

    Both countries are naturally developing advanced nuclear power reactor technologies. For example, in the U.S., the Energy Policy...

  5. (pp. 23-26)

    Development of U.S. energy policy is being integrated into the formulation of U.S. policy at the highest level in the national government, with energy issue considerations taking their place beside economic, military and national security imperatives. For the first time since the Carter Administration, major changes to U.S. energy policy are underway and President Obama has made addressing climate change a key goal in establishing his energy policy. However, efforts to curtail the Yucca Mountain repository program may have an adverse impact on the U.S. nuclear renaissance. The Obama Administration’s overall nuclear policy has not be fully articulated, and is...

  6. (pp. 27-30)

    Throughout the dialogue, participants called for ways to accelerate commercial nuclear power cooperation between the U.S. and China on a government-to-government level and throughout the commercial sector. Given the importance of developing nuclear trade between the two countries, and the necessity of ensuring safe and reliable plant operations, pragmatic and integrated cooperation is needed. In addition, global acceptance of nuclear power over the long term will depend upon viable solutions to nuclear waste and the creation of (even more) proliferation resistant technologies. Both China and the U.S. have the capability of leading in the creation of solutions to these issues....

  7. (pp. 31-32)

    The time for debate about the winners and losers in the supply of energy is over. Nuclear energy is needed more than ever as a non-carbon emitting source of electric supply and it can play a role in providing a secure, sustainable, affordable energy supply. The bottom line is that both the U.S. and China need a diversified energy production platform and technology portfolio, including a vibrant nuclear industry. Given the necessity of using all the forms of energy at our disposal while transitioning to a de-carbonized portfolio relying increasingly on renewables, integrated solutions are needed.

    Recognizing that this is...