China rethinks atomic energy law to focus on nuclear power development

23 April 2024

China is set to revise its atomic energy law to promote the development of nuclear power, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Men work inside a HL-2M Tokamak nuclear fusion reactor, dubbed as the "artificial sun", under construction in Chengdu, Sichuan province. Men work inside a HL-2M Tokamak nuclear fusion reactor, dubbed as the “artificial sun”, under construction in Chengdu, Sichuan province. (Image: Liu Haiyun/Chengdu Economic Daily via REUTERS/File photo)

The draft of the amended law will clarify the regulatory system for nuclear power and promote research and development and the competitiveness of China’s domestic industry, Xinhua said.

The draft has been submitted to an ongoing session of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress for deliberation.

The draft law, which also contains provisions to strengthen safety oversight of nuclear fuel and its import and export, would “uphold China’s image as a responsible nuclear power”, according to Xinhua.

China has the world’s largest nuclear fleet and aims to produce 10% of its electricity from nuclear power by 2035 and 18% by 2060 in a bid to advance energy security and decarbonisation goals.

However, researchers from Norwegian consultancy DNV forecast that nuclear power will contribute only 5% of China’s electricity by 2050, representing 29% of global nuclear energy generation.

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