TOKYO — China is on track to surpass the U.S. as the world’s top producer of nuclear energy as early as 2030, reflecting hesitance to build new capacity in Japan and Western nations even as emerging economies move ahead.
China’s total nuclear power generation capacity, including reactors under construction and in planning, came to 108,700 megawatts as of April, more than America’s 105,120 MW, according to the World Nuclear Association, an industry group.
The trend reflects diverging approaches to nuclear power after the March 2011 Fukushima meltdowns in Japan. While the U.S., Europe and Japan grew risk averse in response to public fears, emerging nations have been keener.
Indonesia and Philippines are among the countries dusting off old plans for reactors. And China and Russia have emerged as the main suppliers.
China brought its first nuclear power station online only about three decades ago, yet “in terms of its technology level, it’s caught up with the most advanced in the world,” said Hideo Nakasugi, senior specialist at the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum.
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