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A comparison of the nuclear options for greenhouse gas mitigation in China and in the United States


  • Yang, Chi-Jen


China is quickly building up its nuclear power capacity while the hailed nuclear renaissance in the United States has been largely stagnant. The political and industrial structures explain the divergent paths. This paper draws lessons from the French experiences in deploying nuclear power and uses the lessons in comparing Chinese and U.S. policies. An authoritative political system and state-owned utility industry allow China to emulate the French approaches such as government-backed financing and broad-scale deployment with standardized design. The democratic political system and fragmented utility industry, and the laissez-faire ideology in the United States, on the other hand, are unfavorable to a nuclear renaissance. The prospect of a nuclear revival in the United States remains highly uncertain. As China builds up its nuclear industry, it will be able to reduce carbon emissions without a carbon price through a national plan to deploy low-carbon nuclear electricity, while the United States cannot implement a climate policy without a carbon price. American politicians should stop using China's lack of carbon cap as an excuse for postponing the legislation of a carbon price.

Suggested Citation

  • Yang, Chi-Jen, 2011. "A comparison of the nuclear options for greenhouse gas mitigation in China and in the United States," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 3025-3028, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:6:p:3025-3028

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Xu, Yi-chong, 2008. "Nuclear energy in China: Contested regimes," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1197-1205.
    2. Sovacool, Benjamin K. & Valentine, Scott Victor, 2010. "The socio-political economy of nuclear energy in China and India," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 3803-3813.
    3. Collingridge, D., 1984. "Lessons of nuclear power French `success' and the breeder," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 189-200, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yang, Chi-Jen & Xuan, Xiaowei & Jackson, Robert B., 2012. "China's coal price disturbances: Observations, explanations, and implications for global energy economies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 720-727.
    2. Chen, Yen-Heng Henry, 2013. "Non-nuclear, low-carbon, or both? The case of Taiwan," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 53-65.
    3. Zhang, Shuwei & Bauer, Nico & Luderer, Gunnar & Kriegler, Elmar, 2014. "Role of technologies in energy-related CO2 mitigation in China within a climate-protection world: A scenarios analysis using REMIND," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 445-455.


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