back to article USA bars imports of Chinese polysilicon due to human rights violations

The USA's Customs and Border Patrol on Thursday banned imports of silica products widely used in solar panels, but also useful for other silicon wafers, on grounds they were made in the Chinese province of Xinjiang, where it is alleged Muslim-minority Uyghur population undertake forced labor. A White House statement attributed …

  1. Potemkine! Silver badge

    +1

    Even if it's a political move, it's a good start anyway.

    Let's do the same in Europe.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Like ban imports from countries whose police kill innocent protestors or whose politicians want certain ethnic groups of people thrown out of the country - despite the government actually encouraging those people to settle in the first place?

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        You're right, we should stop imports from France.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Cornwall?

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Alledged ? Really ?

    Are you that scared of a lawsuit from China, El Reg ?

    Come on, the Uyghur human rights violations are common knowledge. I very much doubt any complaint from not-Winnie-The-Pooh will have much traction in court.

  3. martinusher Silver badge

    There's probably a more subtle reason behind this

    Utilities in the sunnier parts of the US are having a bit of a hard time with solar power at the moment, so much so that they're lobbying hard in several states to have rooftop solar banned. Even where its common they're doing what they can to make it uneconomic, especially for new installations.

    Alturism isn't a strong trait in the US, typically if it's invoking a policy there's usually a hard money reason behind that policy. Human Rights and slave labor (or at least 'coerced working conditions') have never been a much of a barrier to trade with 'friendly' countries if they're part of our hegemony.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: There's probably a more subtle reason behind this

      They aren't lobbying to have solar banned outright, they just don't like net metering. That forces them to pay peak retail rates for solar power, when they are almost always able to get it cheaper elsewhere.

      Those net metering tariffs were set up back when solar was a lot more expensive and something like that was needed to incentivize people to install it. It is no longer necessary, and as whole house batteries become cheaper and cheaper before long in some areas it might pay to build your house completely disconnected from the grid to avoid the monthly infrastructure charges.

      When that happens things will get very interesting as the utility still has to maintain the entire network even if fewer and fewer houses are connected in some areas, thus increasing the cost per household for those who are left - and leaving all those batteries off the grid where they could help alleviate peak loads. Utilities and solar customers are going to have to meet in the middle or the lack of "altruism" you are talking about will hurt them both.

  4. Elledan Silver badge

    One major advantage of the US's nuclear buildout

    Unlike polysilicon for solar panels, US nuclear plants can be made with 100% US concrete and steel, and fuelled with uranium fuel from conflict zones like Canada and Australia.

    The required amount of controversial rare-earth minerals is also far lower this way. Nuclear power is better overall for the environment, better for people, terrible for authoritarian regimes.

    And with new Made In the US reactors like TerraPower's Natrium, there'll not even be spent fuel for people to get upset about any more, while massively reducing the need for uranium imports.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: One major advantage of the US's nuclear buildout

      There are two new reactors being built in the US over the next 7 years, what exactly is this "buildout" you are talking about?

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