Belfer Center Home > People > Hui Zhang

« Back to publication

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

 

2015

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:

 

 

May 6, 2015

"Long-Term Ideal Versus Short-Term Reality"

Op-Ed, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

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

"Baldev Raj and P.R. Vasudeva Rao have argued that reprocessing and fast breeder reactors are necessary for the long-term sustainability of nuclear power. Indeed, fast breeder reactors' potential to produce more fuel than they consume has held an attraction since the advent of nuclear power, especially to those who envision a time when uranium will no longer be available cheaply. Unfortunately, several decades of experience have shown that plutonium recycling systems are much more costly and much less reliable than water-cooled reactors. If establishing sustainable nuclear power means successfully managing important issues such as nuclear safety and proliferation resistance, while also achieving economic competitiveness, minimizing production of radioactive waste, and using natural resources wisely, breeder reactors and plutonium recycling still have far to go before they can meaningfully contribute..."

 

 

May 6, 2015

"Uranium Supplies: A Hitch to China’s Nuclear Energy Plans? Or not?"

Journal Article, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, issue 3, volume 71

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

China will triple the number of nuclear power plants it has in operation by 2020 according to official plans, and the country’s nuclear fleet will increase 20-fold by 2050 under some not-yet-approved proposals. But how and where will China get the uranium to fuel them all? Will China need to resort to breeder reactors and reprocessing, with all the proliferation problems they incur? Or is there another way? In this journal article for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Hui Zhang suggests that between China’s domestic uranium mining, uranium purchased on the international market, and uranium mined by Chinese-owned companies overseas, China could meet even the most ambitious target, thus avoiding the troublesome and dangerous path of reprocessing.

 

 

May, 2015

"China’s Nuclear Modernization"

Fact Sheet

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

In “China’s Nuclear Modernization,” a chapter in Assuring Destruction Forever: 2015 Edition (edited by Ray Acheson, published by Reaching Critical Will, a project of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom), Hui Zhang contributes to a summary of global nuclear modernization.

 

 

April 10, 2015

"Reprocessing in China: A Long, Risky Journey"

Op-Ed, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

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

"Since 1983, a closed fuel cycle has been an official element of China's nuclear energy policy. According to proponents, plutonium reprocessing and breeder reactors will allow full utilization of China’s uranium resources, drastically reduce the volume of radioactive waste that must be stored in an underground repository, and establish a way to dispense with the spent fuel accumulating in China’s reactor pools. But Beijing's attempts to develop commercially viable reprocessing facilities and breeder reactors have been afflicted with technological difficulties, serious delays, and cost overruns. At this point—especially taking into account China's ample uranium resources and its easy access to additional resources abroad—it appears very doubtful that reprocessing and fast reactors are the proper way forward for China's nuclear energy sector..."

 

 

March, 2015

"How to Strengthen Nuclear Security in China"

Journal Article, Arms Control Today, issue 2, volume 45

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

"China is a nuclear-weapon state and rising power entering an era of particularly rapid nuclear energy growth and fuel-cycle development. China’s approach to strengthening the security of its nuclear weapons, materials, and facilities is important because of the quantity of materials involved and the role that China plays in facilitating strong global action on nuclear security..."

 
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.