The Rising Chinese Nuclear Industry
China has built up its civil nuclear fleet from nothing to second worldwide. It is on track to become the world’s largest producer of nuclear power, yet it won’t lead a nuclear energy revolution.
From 1992 to 2022, China went from having no civil nuclear fission power to being the second-largest producer of nuclear energy behind only the United States, having eclipsed France in 2020.1 While nuclear power has stagnated globally, Chinese civil nuclear infrastructure has grown to 55 completed nuclear reactors with another 22 currently under construction. These have a total capacity of 53 gigawatts (GW) with another 22 GW under construction.2 They currently produce around 5% of China’s total electricity generation. Total capacity is expected to reach 70 GW by 2025 and 145 GW by 2035.3 This would make China the largest producer of nuclear energy worldwide, exceeding the U.S. nuclear fleet’s capacity of 93 GW by the end of the decade.4