America continues to relinquish control to Russia and China for the nuclear technology to generate continuous zero emission electricity.
Published September 25, 2023, at the Heartland Institute Russia and China Dominating the Race for Nuclear Electricity Generation – The Heartland Institute
Ronald Stein is an engineer, senior policy advisor on energy literacy for Heartland, and co-author of the Pulitzer Prize nominated book “Clean Energy Exploitations.”
As the USA and many world leaders continue the pursuit of “unreliable electricity”, from wind turbines and solar panels, that can only generate intermittent electricity at best from available breezes and sunshine, Russia, China, France, and Finland have emerged as the leaders in nuclear power generation to achieve continuous uninterruptible, affordable, and zero emission electricity.
According to recent reports, Russia and China are currently leading the world in nuclear electricity generation which also happens to be continuous uninterruptable zero-emissions electricity.
About 60 nuclear power reactors are currently being constructed in 15 countries, notably China, India, and Russia. Together, China and Russia account for 70 percent of new nuclear plants.
The United States, which once led the way in nuclear energy, now lags with only a handful of new reactors under construction. The dominance of Russia and China is likely to continue for the foreseeable future as they invest heavily in new technology and expand their nuclear power programs.
Many of the next generation nuclear plants will require a new form of enriched uranium – called High-Assay, Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU). Russia is currently the only country to produce HALEU which may not be comfortable for America’s national security.
Global demand for affordable, reliable, secure, and clean electricity is soaring because of rising security concerns and ambitious climate commitments. Today, both Russia and China lead the US in terms of the number of agreements with sales of their nuclear energy hardware and their services attached.
Two of America’s primary competitors for zero emission generated electricity also happen to be major geopolitical rivals: for Russia and China, nuclear exports are not just lucrative, they are an effective means of entrapment and exerting geopolitical influence. When Russian and Chinese state-owned nuclear companies export nuclear hardware and equipment, they get to set the standards on safety, security, and nonproliferation. Also, Russia and China usually structure their deals with long-term financing and nuclear fuel supply, meaning they are an avenue to cementing long-term ties and exporting their values as well.
The US was once the dominant global supplier of civil nuclear technologies, but that market position has since eroded with the emergence of new international vendors , led by Russia and China. Accordingly, America’s ability to compete in the nuclear market impacts our national security and democracy that are on the line.
While the nuclear movement continues to be led by Russia and China, the United States, through subsidies and tax incentives, continues to provide financial incentives that are aiding and abetting Communist China’s egregious exploitation of children—some as young as 6 years old and becoming more dependent on Chinas Xi Jinping’s brutal dictatorship.
America must compete to secure a myriad of national interests. At stake with this market is trade, climate, energy and national security, geopolitics, nonproliferation, and more.
The geopolitical value of nuclear trade and commerce means that Moscow and Beijing are actively involved in helping their state-owned enterprises win reactor build projects abroad.
The Russian and Chinese governments will use various diplomatic instruments—ranging from preliminary MOUs to more comprehensive cooperative agreements—to support their respective state nuclear companies in winning overseas deals.
Moscow and Beijing use collaborative R&D arrangements to familiarize partners with their respective technologies. Through these arrangements, Russia and China invite students from partner countries to train and study at domestic universities and institutes. Ultimately, these efforts can influence the decision of client states once the procurement of civil nuclear technologies begins in earnest.
Russia and China are leading in hard agreements, and their presence in international markets is growing. The data is consistent with assessments from the last several years that Russia is by far the world’s leading exporter in nuclear power plants in terms of reactors planned and under construction—Russia has hard MOUs with 45 different countries. Russia’s Grip on Nuclear-Power Trade Is Only Getting Stronger.
Even though its emergence as a global nuclear supplier has been relatively recent, even China leads the US on hard agreements with 13. China is also planning ambitious buildouts of nuclear domestically, giving it a significant industrial base for export.
Not only are many of these foreign countries ready for significant nuclear generated electricity deployment, demand for nuclear energy, is soaring globally as electricity security concerns become paramount and the imperative to decarbonize grows.
Competition in the international nuclear energy market is high politics. To rise above the competition, America would need a coherent and strategic vision to guide their policies on nuclear energy and civil nuclear exports, to compete with Russia and China.
Sadly, as America and a few other European countries continue to focus on ridding the world of fossil fuels, for just occasional electricity generated from breezes and sunshine, America is resigning from the nuclear power generation industry race and relinquishing that control to Russia and China.
Meanwhile, the lack of Energy Literacy among President Biden and his counterparts in Europe is perpetuating and reflected in these satirical John Stossel styled “give-me-a-break” comments about the lack of Energy Literacy among President Biden and his counterparts in Europe:
- The best part of the efforts by President Biden and his counterparts in Europe to stop the use of fossil fuels is that it would ground Air Force One!!!!
- However, it would also ground the other 50,000 jets in the world and leave the 50,000 merchant ships tied up at docks AND discontinue the 6,000 products made from oil that are supporting the 8 billion on this planet!
- Wind and solar can only generate electricity but cannot manufacture anything for society!
- Thus, without a replacement for the fossil fuels that provides the products supporting today’s humanity, President Biden and his counterparts are focused on jumping out of an airplane without a parachute!
The future of America is looking darker and darker, not only with its growing dependency on intermittent electricity generation from wind and solar, but also with diminishing access to the products manufactured from crude oil that support all of humanity, the infrastructures that did not exist before the discovery of oil a few centuries ago such as, the medical industry, communications, electronics, militaries, and space programs.
Ronald Stein, P.E.
Ambassador for Energy & Infrastructure
Energy Literacy website
Ronald Stein (energy consultant) Wikipedia page
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