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Yun Zhou

Yun Zhou

Associate, Project on Managing the Atom




Yun Zhou is a senior consultant at the Ux Consulting Company, one of the nuclear industry's leading consulting firms. She was a fellow at the Belfer Center's Project on Managing the Atom/International Security Program for four years. Her current interests include international security and safety issues under a global nuclear expansion scenario, alternative nuclear technologies such as small reactor designs without on-site refueling for developing countries, reprocessing policy and activities in East Asia, and uranium trading in China. Prior to her MTA/ISP appointment, she was a MacArthur science and technology fellow at the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland, where she still remains an academic affiliation as a research scholar.

Yun Zhou obtained her B.S. in engineering physics from Tsinghua University, Beijing and received her Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.



By Date



AP Images

March 6, 2014

"Before Reactors, Appropriate Systems"

Op-Ed, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

By Yun Zhou, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

Roughly four dozen countries that lack nuclear power are considering its adoption, but expressing interest in nuclear power and actually establishing a nuclear sector are different things. This is especially true for developing countries, as a majority of the four dozen are. Nuclear energy is a complex engineering proposition. It requires a major financial commitment. It cannot be justified unless a relatively large electricity grid is already in place. For these reasons among others, the majority of the developing countries that are contemplating the adoption of nuclear power will build no reactors in the foreseeable future.



June 1, 2013

"China: The Next Few Years are Crucial for Nuclear Industry Growth"

Magazine or Newspaper Article, Nuclear Engineering International, volume 58

By Yun Zhou, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

After worldwide calls to action in the wake of the tsunami that devastated Fukushima Daiichi in March 2011, nuclear power plants have been shoring up their defenses for more than a year. Much has already been accomplished; many projects are only months away from realization. The end of 2013 marks the deadline for many countries’ medium-term actions. This article provides a country-by-country report which aims to give an overview of actions taken in most countries operating nuclear power plants.



Oct 1, 2012

"The Status of Advanced Small Pressurized Water Reactors"

Journal Article, Nuclear Power Engineering, issue 5, volume 33

By Yun Zhou, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

In order to expand nuclear power energy in desalination and increase competitiveness in the global nuclear power market, many developed countries with strong nuclear technology have realized the importance of Small Modular Reactors (SMR) and initiated heavy research and development in SMR.The Advanced Small Pressurized Water Reactor (ASPWR) is characterized by great advantages, both in safety and economic mattters. It can be used in remote power grids and replace mid/small size fossil plants economically.This paper reviews the history and current status of SMR and ASPWR,and also discusses the design concepts, safety features and other advantages thereof.



June 28, 2012

China Responds to Fukushima

Op-Ed, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

By Yun Zhou, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

Before the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, China had big nuclear expansion plans, with more than 40 reactor units under construction or in planning. The Fukushima disaster led China to conduct safety inspections of all its reactors and to suspend nuclear project approvals until a new nuclear safety plan could be adopted. Under Beijing's new safety regulatory system, reactors that are operating or under construction will be spared major redesign, but future projects will face re-engineering, perhaps leading the Chinese to adopt safer third-generation reactor designs created by Chinese firms.




Recommendations for Small Light Water Reactor Development in China

Journal Article, China Nuclear Power, issue 1, volume 5

By Yun Zhou, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

Abstract: This paper summarizes the history and features of advanced small light water reactor (ASWR), and provides recommendations and strategies on ASWR research and development in China. the ASWR can be used in remote power grid and replaces mid/small size fossil plant economically, and thus can be an important part of energy saving and emission reduction policy. the safety and economy characteristic of ASWR are able to effectively expand nuclear energy marekt in emerging countries and developing countries. therefore, ASWR should be considered as a critical part of China's nuclear technology and equipment export strategy.



Bret Arnett, CC licensed

March 5, 2012

China’s Nuclear Energy Industry, One Year After Fukushima

Policy Brief

By Yun Zhou, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

It has been one year since the disastrous nuclear accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011. Experts now view Fukushima as the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

In the aftermath, the Chinese government promptly reaffirmed that nation’s nuclear energy policy. Yet China also became the only nation among all major nuclear energy states that suspended its new nuclear plant project approvals. Before it would restart approvals, China said it would:

1) Conduct safety inspections at all nuclear facilities

2) Strengthen the approval process of new nuclear plant projects

3) Enact a new national nuclear safety plan

4) Adjust the medium and long-term development plan for nuclear power

Where is China on this path, and what is the future of its nuclear power industry?



March 1, 2012

China’s Nuclear Power Industry after Fukushima and China's Nuclear Safety Practices


By Yun Zhou, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

MTA/ISP Fellow Yun Zhou's presentation to the American Physics Society on safety in the Chinese nuclear industry



AP Photo

February 2012

"China's Commercial Reactors"

Magazine or Newspaper Article, Nuclear Engineering International, China Supplement

By Jonathan Hinze and Yun Zhou, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

China's approach to civil nuclear power reactor development will determine the overall tenor of its nuclear power programme long into the future. Its approach, both domestically and through imports, is analyzed, with a focus on the next decade of deployment.



AP Photo


"Characteristics and Advantages of the Advanced Small Pressurized Water Reactor"

Journal Article, Nuclear Power, volume 5

By Peipei Chen and Yun Zhou, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

The Advanced Small Pressurized Water Reactor (ASPWR) can be used in remote power grids and replaces mid/small size fossil-fuel plants economically. Current ASPWR deeply adopts modular and integrated pressure vessel design—and a passive safety system—which effectively improves plant safety and economy. This paper performs the comparative study of safety and economy features in ASPWR and large PWRs. The authors suggest that China should start R&D programs in ASPWR.



September 16, 2011

"China's Nuclear Safety Regulatory System: Current Status and Challenges"


By Yun Zhou, Associate, Project on Managing the Atom

Although China is one of the major contributors in the global nuclear expansion, China's nuclear power industry is relatively young. Its nuclear safety regulators are less experienced compared to those in other major nuclear power countries. To realize China's resolute commitment to rapid growth of safe nuclear energy, detailed analyses of its nuclear safety regulatory system are required.



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