The next nuclear meltdown: China
The worsening Japanese predicament is a reminder of how much damage Mother Nature can cause. With a little help from her friends – for example, poor urban planners – Japan is facing a full-blown nuclear crisis not imagined since U.S. forces dropped two big ones on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 66 years ago. Radical greens are taking advantage of the tragedy to make doomsday warnings for the rest of the world. It’s doubtful that Japan’s unique geographical vulnerabilities are a hazard universally, but there is one place where nuclear power generators are susceptible to big trouble: China.
The Middle Kingdom is earthquake-prone and suffers regular damage from major tremors. This augurs poorly for Beijing’s nuclear blueprint. “China National Nuclear, the country’s top nuclear-power developer, said this week it planned to build a new nuclear plant in the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing,” reported the Wall Street Journal. Chongqing “is around 480 kilometers from the epicenter of a 7.9-magnitude earthquake in 2008 that left nearly 90,000 people dead or missing in neighboring Sichuan province.” Fault lines crisscross the mainland, but the communist government has high-priority plans to hastily construct 28 new reactors in the next nine years. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) already is the world’s second-largest consumer of nuclear energy.