Regional Advisors:


Updated June 6, 2017


  • China's electricity mix depends heavily on fossil fuels, with 63 percent of its electricity generation capacity coming from fossil fuels in 2016. Based on estimates for 2020, this figure will only go down 1 percent.
  • China's renewable capacity has grown rapidly over the past decade, but its total share of clean electricity has remained between 20 and 30 percent since 1980.
  • Mainland China has approximately 32 gigawatts of nuclear power in operation, an additional 21 under construction, and more about to start construction.
  • Air pollution and climate are both publicly stated reasons for China's expansion of nuclear.
  • While nuclear will expand significantly in China, it is unlikely to become more than 30 percent of China's electricity by 2050. Nuclear is today two percent of Chinese electricity, and will only increase to three percent of Chinese electricity by 2020.
  • Without its nuclear power, China would increase its emissions by the equivalent of up to 52 million cars added to the road.
  • China has the most ambitious nuclear energy programs in the world but low demand for nuclear globally and the slow pace of innovation make the diffusion of advanced nuclear reactors unlikely before 2040.