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Hui Zhang

Mailing address

One Brattle Square 531
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Mailbox 134
Cambridge, MA, 02138

Hui Zhang

Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

Contact:
Telephone: 617-495-5710
Fax: 617-496-0606
Email: Hui_Zhang@harvard.edu

 

Experience

Hui Zhang is a Senior Research Associate at the Project on Managing the Atom in the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.  Hui Zhang is leading a research initiative on China's nuclear policies for the  Project on Managing the Atom in the Kennedy School of Government. His researches include verification techniques of nuclear arms control, the control of fissile material, nuclear terrorism, China's nuclear policy, nuclear safeguards and non-proliferation, policy of nuclear fuel cycle and reprocessing.

Before coming to the Kennedy School in September 1999, he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, Princeton University from 1997-1999, and in 1998-1999, he received a post-doctoral fellowship from the Social Science Research Council, a MacArthur Foundation program on International Peace and Security. From 2002-2003, he received a grant for Research and Writing from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Hui Zhang received his Ph.D. in nuclear physics in Beijing in 1996.

Dr. Zhang is the author of several technical reports and book chapters, and dozens of articles in academic journals and the print media including Science and Global Security, Arms Control Today, Bulletin of Atomic Scientist, Disarmament Diplomacy, Disarmament Forum, the Non-proliferation Review, Washington Quarterly, Journal of Nuclear Materials Management , INESAP, and China Security. Dr. Zhang gives many oral presentations and talks in international conferences and organizations.

 

 

By Date

 

2016

January 2016

The Cost of Reprocessing in China

Report

By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom, Hui Zhang, Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom and Li Kang

Faced with the twin pressures of a still-quickly growing economy and unprecedented smog from coal-fired plants, China is racing to expand its fleet of nuclear power plants. As it does so, Beijing is considering making large capital investments in facilities to reprocess spent nuclear fuel and recycle the resulting plutonium in fast neutron reactors that breed more plutonium. This report outlines the enormous costs China would likely face if it decides to build large-scale plants for reprocessing plutonium from spent nuclear fuel and recycling the plutonium in fast neutron reactors.

 

2015

December 17, 2015

"The Experts on Nuclear Power and Climate Change"

Op-Ed, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

By Hui Zhang, Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

"Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed at the global climate change conference in Paris that China pledged to achieve peak carbon dioxide emissions by around 2030, and to get around 20 percent of its primary energy from non-fossil sources by 2030. In 2014, China’s non-fossil energy consumption accounted for 11.2 percent of total energy use—hydro power was 8 percent, nuclear power was about 1 percent, and non-hydro renewable energy was around 2 percent—which is very close to the target of 11.4 percent set for 2015. Still, coal supplied the majority (66 percent) of China's total energy consumption in 2014, and oil accounted for about 18 percent of the energy mix. Natural gas, at 5 percent, still accounted for a relatively small share. To double the share of non-fossil sources by 2030, what role can nuclear power play?"

 

 

December 7, 2015

"China’s rapidly expanding centrifuge enrichment capacity"

Op-Ed, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

By Hui Zhang, Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

"With the aftermath of the Iran agreement hanging in the air, words such as “centrifuge,” “enrichment,” and “uranium” are still appearing regularly in news coverage. Which means that now is a good time to look at the enrichment capacity of a much larger power, thousands of miles away: China. The country’s enrichment capacity is a topic about which little has appeared in the popular press—possibly because little is publicly known, and what information there is has to be assembled, verified, and evaluated from many different independent sources."

 

 

October 23, 2015

"China's Uranium Enrichment Complex"

Journal Article, Science & Global Security, issue 3, volume 23

By Hui Zhang, Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

New public information allows a fresh estimate of China's current and under-construction uranium enrichment capacity. This paper uses open source information and commercial satellite imagery to identify and offer estimates of the capacity of China's 10 operating enrichment facilities, located at 4 sites, using centrifuge technology most likely based on adapting Russian technology. The total currently operating civilian centrifuge enrichment capacity is estimated to be about 4.5 million separative work units/year (SWU/year), with additional capacity estimated to be about 2 million SWU/year under construction. Also China could have an enrichment capacity of around 0.6 million SWU/year for non-weapon military uses (i.e., naval fuel) or dual use. These estimates are much larger than previous public estimates of China's total enrichment capacity. Further expansion of enrichment capacity may be likely since China will require about 9 million SWU/year by 2020 to meet the enriched uranium fuel needs for its planned nuclear power reactor capacity of 58 gigawatts-electric (GWe) by 2020 under its policy of self-sufficiency in the supply of enrichment services.

 

 

September 25, 2015

"China is said to be building a demonstration commercial reprocessing plant"

Op-Ed

By Hui Zhang, Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

"China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) is reported to have started preparations for what appears to be a demonstration reprocessing plant with a capacity of 200 tonnes/year at Jinta near Jiuquan city of Gansu province. This site is over one hundred kilometer away from China's pilot reprocessing plant (located at Plant 404, the former Jiuquan plutonium production complex), The new demonstration plant is assumed to be based on a scale-up of the pilot plant which has a capacity of 50 tons/year. Works seems to be at a very preliminary site preparation stage..."

 

 

August 20, 2015

China's Uranium Enrichment Capacity: Rapid Expansion to Meet Commercial Needs

Report

By Hui Zhang, Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

Based on satellite imagery, Chinese publications, and discussions with Chinese experts, This report suggests that China has much more civilian enrichment capacity than previously thought, and even more is on the way. If these new estimates are correct, China has enough enrichment capacity to meet its nuclear power fuel requirements for the coming decade and beyond. Further, China will have excess enrichment capacity and will likely become a net exporter of commercial enrichment services.

 

 

July 20, 2015

Plutonium Separation in Nuclear Power Programs: China

Report

By Hui Zhang, Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom and Yun Zhou, Former Associate, Project on Managing the Atom (MTA), 2013–2014; Former Research Fellow, International Security Program (ISP)/MTA, 2011–2013; Former Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow, ISP/MTA, 2010–2011; Former Research Fellow, ISP/MTA, 2009–2010

"Plutonium was first separated by the United States during the Second World War. Uranium was loaded into nuclear reactors, irradiated, cooled, and then chemically “reprocessed” in another facility to recover the plutonium. The reactors and the reprocessing plant were built as part of the secret atomic bomb project. Since then, eight other countries also have produced and separated plutonium for weapons..."

 

 

July 1, 2015

"Plutonium Reprocessing, Breeder Reactors, and Decades of Debate: A Chinese Response"

Journal Article, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, issue 4, volume 71

By Hui Zhang, Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

Some observers believe that plutonium reprocessing is on the verge of an expansion, while others argue that the end of the practice is in sight. The risk of nuclear proliferation has always been the chief objection to reprocessing but proponents argue that today, with uranium enrichment technology more easily available, reprocessing no longer represents an efficient route toward nuclear weapons...

 

 

May 26, 2015

China's Access to Uranium Resources

Report

By Hui Zhang, Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

Official plans in China call for a three-fold increase in nuclear energy by 2020, and much more is under consideration for the coming decades. How will China get the uranium it needs to feed its ambitious nuclear energy plans for the coming decades? This report suggests that between domestic uranium mining, uranium purchased on the international market, and uranium mined by Chinese-owned companies overseas, the security of China’s uranium supply will not pose a challenge to China’s nuclear power development, even under the most ambitious scenarios for growth.

 

 

May 21, 2015

"Pay More, Risk More, Get Little"

Op-Ed, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

By Hui Zhang, Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

In this oped for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Hui Zhang contributes a third article to an international roundtable on reprocessing:

 
Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.