India and China may be the unlikeliest of partners, but the continued demand for clean energy has brought the world’s most populous nations into an economic embrace that should send shivers down the spine of old world leaders.
Since India commercialized its process for creating nuclear energy from thorium, rather than the traditional uranium-based reactors, its politicians and scientists have been actively courted by China. In parallel, China has been acquiring practical experience using Pebble Bed reactors.
Now a formal agreement has been reached for a program that will establish 2,000 new nuclear reactors in the region during the next 20 years.
Since both countries continue to have massive demands for energy, India owns most of the world’s thorium reserves and China now claims ownership of Pebble Bed reactor technology, this is a marriage that will benefit both countries beyond the next five decades.
Hidden in the fine print of this deal is the establishment of 25 special economic zones that will focus on the creation of export versions of their new reactor technologies.
GE believes that China is targeting small “city reactors”, and eventually even the “local community” reactors that these ‘safe’ new technologies enable.
This could see Indo-China becoming the undisputed world leader in nuclear energy technologies. With the vast scale of production being planned, they could be ready to supply all of the world’s nuclear reactors within ten years.