China’s unwavering faith in producing electricity from nuclear power gives it a leading edge in meeting climate change targets. The nation’s ambitious plans to dramatically boost installed capacity while promoting advanced technologies and researching scientific breakthroughs put it in the forefront of the world’s efforts to reduce use of fossil fuels. But the global crisis threatened by the surge in oil, gas and coal prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine gives further reason to forge ahead. The goal of a responsible government should be to generate energy that is safe, secure and clean. Under guidelines recently announced by the National Development and Reform Commission and National Energy Administration, Beijing will push resolutely ahead with nuclear reactor construction and development, aiming to boost nuclear power generation from 50 gigawatts to 70 by 2025. Plans call for more demonstration projects to promote technologies like high-temperature, gas-cooled, reactors, small modular units and floating plants. Nuclear fusion is also on the agenda; in January, Chinese scientists announced a breakthrough, raising hopes of one day building reactors that produce abundant, inexpensive electricity and leave little radioactive waste. China presently has 53 reactors, the third most in the world behind the United States and France, producing about 5 per cent of national power needs. Nuclear is arguably the cleanest and safest way to produce power. But reactors are also expensive to build and have an operational life cycle of about 40 years, while storing and disposing of the waste generated is difficult. But the world’s worst energy crisis since 2008, with fossil fuel prices soaring, is prompting an increasing number of governments to follow China’s lead. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this month signalled a shake-up for his country’s energy mix by setting a target of 25 per cent of power from nuclear. French President Emmanuel Macron in February announced what he called a “renaissance” of his country’s power industry, with plans for up to 14 new reactors to help achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. China to shore up energy supply as Ukraine war stokes ‘period of turbulence’ Accidents at Japan’s Fukushima plant in 2011 and Ukraine’s Chernobyl in 1986 prompted many governments to rethink nuclear programmes. Russian attacks on Ukraine’s nuclear facilities have heightened concerns about security. But the dependence of some Western nations on oil and gas from Russia and the possibility of supplies being reduced or cut off as a result of sanctions has prompted debate in countries with plans to phase out nuclear power, particularly Germany and Belgium. The crisis shows moving away from fossil fuels is as important for reducing emissions behind global warming as ensuring stable power supplies.