The energy crisis has been a matter of concern for world leaders for several decades and has become the driving force behind major discussions and tensions between the main powers.
Since the outbreak of the war between Russia and Ukraine, the debate on this issue has escalated, given that the nation led by Putin is one of the major suppliers of the energy used by Europe daily.
The war highlighted Europe’s dependence on Russia, and many nations began to discuss how imported gas should be replaced.
In parallel, during the year 2021, global electricity consumption increased by more than 6% over the previous year, as reported in the annual report of BP (the third largest oil and gas producer in the world).
Most of this energy is produced from coal, which has also generated a great contradiction in the countries leading the “fight against climate change,” which seek to reduce the production of energy based on fossil fuels due to their high gas emissions.
Renewable energies are nowhere near being able to replace coal-based energy production, so the discourse of environmentalists and promoters of the fight against “climate change” has reached a dead end. Added to this are the criticisms that gas consumption in Europe generates dependence on Russia, so what is the way forward?
In this complex context, the alternative that many are proposing is a return to nuclear energy.
And this is where the Chinese communist regime appears again as a protagonist. Given that while Western nuclear reactors gradually ceased to be used during the last decades, China developed this industry exponentially to the point that today it offers to export its technologies and lead the international impulse of this ancient and controversial way of generating energy.
What is nuclear energy, and how dangerous is it?
Nuclear power plants use atomic fission to produce energy. Basically, it works by splitting a heavy atom, usually uranium 235, which causes more neutrons in a multiplier effect, unleashing a powerful chain reaction in just a fraction of a second.
This action releases a large number of neutrons and gamma rays and generates a strong amount of heat energy; the intense temperature increases the temperature of the water and produces steam. The pressure of this concentrated steam turns the reactor turbines, which in turn activates a generator to produce electricity and finally send it to the grid.
Many environmentalists defend this type of technology, arguing that carbon dioxide emission is almost nil, and the release of steam (the smoke that can be seen coming out of the large reactor chimneys) is completely harmless to the environment.
However, it is well known that the operation of a nuclear reactor implies the existence of a really high latent danger, which in case of any kind of failure, the consequences can be terrible.
Radioactive waste from nuclear plants can be toxic to the environment for decades and even thousands of years, and its treatment is very complex. For example, in the case of high-level waste, it has to be stored in three different stages, the last of which is underground at a depth of 650 to 3,300 ft. The consequences are terrible if there is a leak or failure in the treatment system.
Energy crisis: European Union classifies nuclear energy as “green”
Faced with strong pressure from the energy crisis and the need to develop other alternatives to energy production, the European Union (EU) classified nuclear energy as “green” at the beginning of 2022, considering it necessary for the transition to carbon dioxide-free generation.
Nuclear power plants emit an average of 28 tons of carbon dioxide for every gigawatt hour they produce, well below the 888 tons of coal, 735 tons of oil, and 500 tons of natural gas, according to the European Commission’s technical report presented in December 2021, through which it managed to label the controversial nuclear energy as “green” or environmentally friendly.
The proposal met with some resistance among some EU member states. Such is the case of Germany, one of the EU heavyweights, which has been phasing out its nuclear power plants and opposed the plan. Others, such as France, strongly backed the green label for nuclear power.
China leads the world in the construction of new nuclear power plants
While most of the world’s major powers, such as Germany and the United States, put aside nuclear reactor-based energy development over the past decades, the Chinese communist regime increased it exponentially.
Under the argument of its alleged goal of becoming a carbon-neutral economy by 2050, the Chinese communist regime announced its plan to build 150 new reactors in the next 14 years, according to Bloomberg.
In addition, the Chinese communist regime is seeking to position itself as an exporter of nuclear reactors, technology, and know-how. Among the countries already working with the regime to build reactors in their territories is Pakistan, which has already had five Chinese reactors for almost three decades. And agreements were signed with Argentina, Egypt, and Kenya, among others.
Since 2017, 87% of the new reactors commissioned are Russian and Chinese designs, while the powers that historically handled this type of energy lost market leadership.
This situation is beginning to arouse some discomfort in certain sectors of the international community, especially among those who wonder whether the Chinese regime is really in a position to lead the development of this delicate form of energy production worldwide.
The Chinese communist regime, together with its large companies, is known for its high levels of corruption, great disregard for human life, and a deep desire to become a world leader by generating absolute dependence on it from other countries.
These attributes do not seem to be compatible with a country that intends to lead the development of nuclear energy on a planetary scale unless it seeks to ensure the safety and welfare of the world’s population.
Dangers of Chinese nuclear power, the case of the Guangdong nuclear power plant
It is difficult to define whether nuclear power is safe or not. In any case, the real problem with nuclear power lies with the people and/or organizations that operate, regulate, finance and make money from it.
Simply put, nuclear power is only safe if safety guidelines are followed exactly, inspections and maintenance are frequent, and there is complete transparency when they are built.
It is hard not to believe that nuclear power in the hands of the Chinese regime involves enormous real danger. In fact, there is a recent case where the Taishan nuclear power plant in China, which operates in partnership between a Chinese and a French company, warned of an “imminent radioactive threat” from the plant.
The French firm sent the warning, indicating that the Chinese energy safety authority was raising the acceptable limits for radiation detection outside the Taishan nuclear power plant in Guangdong province to avoid shutting it down.
The letter was addressed to the U.S. State Department and is just one demonstration of what can happen when the nuclear power option is not handled with the responsibility and care it requires.