With all of the posts about pollution in China this news story offers a glimmer of hope. China’s National Academy of Sciences has been given an initial budget of 350 million dollars and has already hired 140 PhD scientists in hopes of developing clean nuclear energy. Since the recent nuclear disaster in Japan, nuclear power has fallen in the wayside as a clean and effective alternative to the burning of fossil fuels. It seems that the majority of people would rather suffer form the constant minor negative externality of pollution than risk being the victim of nuclear disaster. However, if China’s team of scientists (or one of the multiple other teams around the world working on the same project) are successful nuclear power will create significantly less toxic waste and more importantly won’t blow up. Unlike reactors today that use uranium thorium does not create chain reactions and can easily be shut off . Nuclear reactors still use much of the same technology they used in the 1950s, and they need to be updated with new techniques and technologies. China is using its powerful economy to create an energy process that if successful will not only save its population from pollution but also enhance the lives of every living thing around the world.
Regardless of whether nuclear fission of thorium ever becomes a reality, China is committed to harnessing the power of nuclear energy. China will have 26 reactors by 2015 and potential plans to build over 170 more.