The Shape of Things to Come - Nuclear Edition

How Innovative Is China in Nuclear Power? | ITIF

An interesting (albeit saddening) article from the Swamp-based Information Technology & Innovation Foundation.

- China intends to build 150 new nuclear reactors between 2020 and 2035, with 27 currently under construction and the average construction timeline for each reactor about seven years, far faster than for most other nations.

- China has commenced operation of the world’s first fourth-generation nuclear reactor, for which China asserts it developed some 90 percent of the technology.

- China is leading in the development and launch of cost-competitive small modular reactors (SMRs).

- Overall, analysts assess that China likely stands 10 to 15 years ahead of the United States in its ability to deploy fourth-generation nuclear reactors at scale.

- China’s innovation strengths in nuclear power pertain especially to organizational, systemic, and incremental innovation. Many fourth-generation nuclear technologies have been known for years, but China’s state-backed approach excels at fielding them.

That used to be the US’s strength – the ability to take smart ideas from anywhere around the world and actually implement them. That was before the US changed itself into a make-work program for bureaucrats & lawyers.


Yeah, but the US has Google (Alphabet) and Facebook (META). We’re way ahead in this important sector. Take that, Chicoms!


I wonder how much they’ll charge to run the undersea power cable to North America so the natively stupid can keep their artificial intelligence devices fully charged.


Strangely, your comment reminded me of “Profession” by Isaac Asimov, which is very much on the point, although published in 1957:

“What about the people here who don’t — measure up?”

“They are taped eventually and become our Social Scientists. Ingenescu is one. I am a Registered Psychologist. We are second echelon, so to speak.”


A random aside:


Does the superiority of girls over boys in “creative thinking performance” explain why the world has become so much of a better place since women began to dominate in politics, the media, bureaucracies, major corporations, and law?


It is remarkable that there are methods for measuring and comparing creativity. How reliable are these methods? Since creativity is hard to quantify for laymen, it must be some proxy measure. What exactly do they measure?



“Creative thinking” sounds a bit fuzzy to this (skeptical) correspondent. What other outcomes at a national level can one reasonably expect to correlate with a high/low creative thinking score? Are those consistent with the ranking recorded earlier?

What is Creative Thinking?

Creative thinking is the way of thinking that leads to the generation of valuable and original ideas. All people are capable of engaging in creative thinking and practicing ‘everyday’ creativity (addressing everyday activities in a non-conventional way). Creative thinking can be applied not only to contexts related to the expression of imagination, such as creative writing or the arts, but also to other areas where the generation of ideas is functional to the investigation of issues, problems or society-wide concerns.

The PISA assessment will examine students’ capacities to generate diverse and original ideas, and to evaluate and improve ideas, across a range of contexts or ‘domains’. The assessment includes four domains: written expression, visual expression, social problem solving and scientific problem solving. In each of these domains, students engage with open tasks that have no single correct response. They are either asked to provide multiple, distinct responses, or to generate a response that is not conventional. These responses can take the form of a solution to a problem, of a creative text or of a visual artefact.


This must be hard science with no squishiness whatsoever - because it includes the word “diverse” and the phrase “social problem solving”. It must be “settled science” along with “global warming”.


See here: 1. Measuring creative thinking | PISA 2022 Results (Volume III) : Creative Minds, Creative Schools | OECD iLibrary