Breaking news from the New York Times on China’s now-lessened nuclear ambitions:
BEIJING — China suspended approval on Wednesday of 28 planned nuclear power plants while it revised safety standards, making the surprise announcement after Premier Wen Jiabao met with top advisers to discuss Japan’s nuclear crisis.
The government said it was also requiring safety checks at all existing plants.
If you were a fan of anything nuclear power-related prior to last week, chances are that China’s massive nuclear build-out was the key to your thesis. This development is exactly what you don’t want to see. Whether or not China picks up where it left off when (if?) the dust settles is up in the air – this simply cannot be predicted or gamed at this moment in time.
And if you think that this Not In My Back Yard (N.I.M.B.Y.) zeitgeist isn’t going to be the norm around the world for the foreseeable future, you’re dreaming. Imagine trying to run for office here or anywhere with ties to or endorsements of the nuclear power industry. Suicide.
The facts have changed regardless of how Fukushima turns out and perception trumps reality. Even a reality with non-catastrophic radiation in Japan won’t help much in the face of all the fear.