Intelligent Energy

Missed the Facebook IPO? Try China Nuclear

Missed the Facebook IPO? Try China Nuclear

Posting in Design

Unlike social media giant, China National Nuclear Power Corp. actually makes things. It's a driving force in country's shift to nuclear. It needs $27 billion for 5 new plants. Bill Gates knows 'em.

China will rely increasingly on nuclear to keep the lights on and the CO2 down. Above, Shanghai.

Maybe you skipped Facebook's initial public stock offering because you prefer putting your money into companies that actually make things. If so, for your next investment, have a look at China National Nuclear Power Corp.

CNNC is the largest of over 100 nuclear companies in China, a country that plans to deploy nuclear power full tilt. While nuclear now comprises less than 2 percent of China's electricity, its contribution will surge over the next 20 years, as the country builds as many as 100 new reactors - nearly a quarter of the number that operate commercially around the world today.

While China is also building solar and wind facilities as a means to reduce its heavy reliance on the coal plants that are wreaking havoc on the environment and health, nuclear will outweigh them.

Bill Gates is discussing collaborating with China National Nuclear Corp. on development of his 'traveling wave reactor', a form of fast neutron reactor (FNR). China has big plans for FNRs.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection has approved the company's request to use a stock offering to help fund the construction and operation of 5 new nuclear plants costing a combined 174 billion yuan ($27 billion), according to Bloomberg. CNNC did not state how much of the 174 billion yuan it would seek from the share sale. Australian fund management firm Macqurie Group said it may raise about 50 billion yuan ($8 billion) and borrow the rest.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission approved the initial public offering (IPO) in January, Bloomberg reported.

China National Nuclear Power Corp. is part of China National Nuclear Corp., the group that Bill Gates is talking to about a possible cooperation with Gates' nuclear firm, TerraPower. Gates and TerraPower are developing a "traveling wave" nuclear reactor, which is a form of a "fast neutron reactor" (FNR). China plans to rely heavily on FNRs by 2050.

CNNC also owns nuclear valve and uranium companies - China is buying up uranium mines around the world to help secure its nuclear future, while it also invests in alternative fuels like thorium. It has declared it will invest $120 billion in nuclear through 2020.

Here's how CNNC describes itself on its website:

"China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) is the large state-owned enterprise under the direct management of the central government. Historically, CNNC successfully developed the atomic bomb, hydrogen bomb and nuclear submarines and built the fist nuclear plant in the main land of China. CNNC is the main body of the national nuclear techonology industry, the core of the national strategic nuclear deterrence and the main force of the national nuclear power development and nuclear power construction, and shoulders the duel historical responsibilities for building of national defense force, increasing the value of state assets and developing the society.

CNNC is mainly engaged in scientific research and development, design and construction, production and operation in various fields such as nuclear military industry, nuclear power, nuclear electricity generation, nuclear fuels and nuclear technology application, as well as international economic cooperation and import and export businesses. China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has over 100 secondary member units across over 20 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities with 100,000 employees."

The five nuclear plants for which CNNPC is raising money are in 4 different provinces - Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian and Hainan - according to Bloomberg. The story did not identify the stock exchange that CNNC will use.

But maybe you'd rather put your money into a social media company that manufactures nothing and specializes in duping people into handing over valuable and revealing personal information for free, from which it profits.

Photos: Shanghai from Salvemar via Wikimedia. Bill Gates from Cheminfo.com.

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Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure