In the immediate aftermath of the Japanese quake and beginning of the nuclear crisis, we wrote that the responses of the China and India, which are both planning major investment into new nuclear plants, was much more pro-nuclear than that of Western governments.
But now both have changed position. China performed a near U-turn on Wednesday when it abruptly announced a freeze on approvals for planned plants. Two days later, India has similarly changed tack, although in a less dramatic manner, by calling a for a review of the country’s nuclear safety rules.
I wrote on Monday that China and India were pressing ahead with their nuclear building programmes even in the wake of the Japan crisis. Well, no longer, at least for the moment. China has just made an announcement that could have a huge impact on the nuclear industry.
This is from Reuters:
China has suspended approvals for proposed nuclear power plants and is making a comprehensive safety check of atomic plants following Japan’s nuclear crisis, the State Council, or cabinet, said on Wednesday.
India’s Nuclear Power Corporation is a sleepy public utility that runs 17 atomic plants not very efficiently. Last year, it made headlines for the wrong reasons, when an act of apparent sabotage at one plant put the whole country on high alert. Prime minister Manmohan Singh also frequently laments that Asia’s third largest economy only produces just 3 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power.
Areva, France’s state-owned nuclear power company, wants to change all that. Amid a $9bn deal with NPCIL, it has big ambitions for the Indian giant, possibly bigger than the company has for itself. It’s offering NPCIL investment opportunities in its global mining operations, which span more than half a dozen countries from Niger to Kazakhstan.