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"The Security Implications of China's Nuclear Energy Expansion"

Security guards stand guard at the Qinshan No. 2 Nuclear Power Plant, China's first nuclear power plant, at Qinshan, about 125 km SW of Shanghai, China, June 10, 2005.
AP Photo

"The Security Implications of China's Nuclear Energy Expansion"

Journal Article, Nonproliferation Review

Forthcoming July 2010

Author: 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

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security; Managing the Atom; Science, Technology, and Public Policy



Nuclear energy is an integral part of China's energy strategy and will increasingly contribute to China's total energy supply. China has more than twenty civilian facilities, including power reactors, mines, and enrichment plants, to support its nuclear power program. As China operates more nuclear plants, more nuclear materials will be produced and stockpiled, and more nuclear facilities will be spread around the country. To ensure that this expanded network of nuclear facilities does not increase the risk that nuclear materials will be diverted or become the target of attack, China will need to develop more reliable domestic nuclear security strategies. China is also poised to become a major exporter of nuclear energy technology. China has committed to keeping nuclear technologies out of the hands of dangerous states and/or sub-state organizations as well as sharing nuclear technologies, but in order to meet its nonproliferation obligations, Chinese policy makers will need to strengthen nuclear export controls and practices. This report  examines and evaluates security measures at Chinese civilian nuclear power plants and suggests ways to improve them. It also reviews current export control policies and systems, identifies likely challenges to the expanding nuclear sector, and proposes possible solutions.


For more information about this publication please contact the ISP Program Coordinator at 617-496-1981.

For Academic Citation:

Zhou, Yun. "The Security Implications of China's Nuclear Energy Expansion." Nonproliferation Review (Forthcoming July 2010).

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