Last winter, China learned a powerful lesson about the limitations of a heavy dependence on coal fired power. Even in a country where economic expansion takes a back seat to concerns about clean air and where there are huge deposits of the fuel with no near term risk of running out, there are some challenges. Coal transportation imposes a heavy burden on rail and road systems and it is so bulky that it is difficult for individual plants to maintain more than a month or so of fuel inventory on hand.
When China experienced a series of heavy snowfalls, transportations systems slowed to a crawl, impeding the required flow of coal and putting whole regions at risk of running out of power. One of the responses to that lesson has been a reevaluation of the announced plans for nuclear power expansion. Here is a quote from China aims at higher nuclear power capacity
China may raise its total installed nuclear power generating capacity to 70 million kilowatts by 2020,75 percent higher than government target set in 2006, says a senior energy official.
The government was considering revising the 40-million-kw goal in the 2006 national nuclear power development plan, said Huang Li, head of energy conservation and equipment at the National Energy Administration (NEA).
“The severe winter weather earlier this year in southern China that paralyzed electricity supplies and coal transportation exposed risks and vulnerability in the traditional power supply system,” said Huang.