In a year when many were questioning their long term commitment to nuclear power following the accident at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan, China continues to have the world’s largest and fastest growing nuclear program. China currently has about 12 GW of nuclear power in operation and another 26 units under construction. It expects to meet and even exceed its previous 2020 target of 40GW by the year 2015.
Since China entered the WTO in 2001, the automotive industry has grown exponentially. From two million vehicles sold in 2001, against nearly 19 million in the US, sales in China grew to 18.5 million units in 2011, more than vehicle sales in the US, making China the largest automotive market in the world. The Innovation Center for Energy and Transportation estimates that if growth continues at current rates of 10-11% per year, China could be selling 30 million vehicles annually by 2015. Providing energy for those vehicles may prove a challenge even greater than that of providing food for the nation’s 1.6 billion residents.