What happened: China plans to deploy its own nuclear reactor, called “Hualong One,” in new power plants built around the country, instead of using foreign designs, government officials announced on Wednesday. Beijing has settled on using the Chinese design over the American AP1000 to meet its goal of increasing total installed nuclear capacity to 58 gigawatts and to have another 30 gigawatts under construction by 2020. Nuclear plant construction had been halted for three years due to a suspension of approvals, but the National Nuclear Safety Administration confirmed it will resume this year.
Why it’s important: China is the world’s biggest energy consumer, and as it gears up to meet its emission goals and replace coal-fueled plants for 2020, it looks to invest in clean energy solutions. It has long looked to foreign companies for technology, seen as a “shop window” for France, Russia, the US, and Canada to show off their new designs. In 2006 it signed a deal with the US to make the AP1000 the “core of its nuclear program,” but when it finally arrived in China, homegrown designs had evolved to the point of viable deployment.