This is much better than the "Arms race" of old. It seems as if the US & Canada is up to a unique challenge set by China.
Earlier, the Chinese announced that they are going to expedite their plans to commercialise "Molten Salt Thorium Nuclear reactors". (I know I have to tell you what the amazing benefits from this and similar "Thorium based" technologies come, but these linked articles can get the interest going.)
"China working on uranium-free nuclear plants in attempt to combat smog | Environment | The Guardian"
More recently the US and a Canadian company also entered this race.
[In North America] Nuclear Power Turns To Salt - Forbes
It is important to remember that in the 1960's there was already a successful pilot "molten salt reactor" built and operared, to prove the concept. This was "stopped"/"placed on hold - indefinitely" due to the Cold War insistence to build plutonium breeder reactors.
The great thing about this "little race" to commercialise molten salt thorium reactors is that it has so much intrinsic value to expose to the world that modern nuclear reactor designs are versatile and can be built in such a way that nuclear arms proliferation is physically out of the question.
There are other kinds of modular reactors also using thorium. In particular the "Pebble Bed Modular Reactors". This technology has almost the same kind of benefits and is also a true GenIV reactor. China has built two pilot reactors, that is based on the original designs made in Germany and later in South Africa as well.
What will this "Little Nuclear Race" bring to humanity?
Hope or despair?
I think the Chinese don't have the need or luxury of "post-affluence despair"... The question is therefore... Can the West be hopeful and daring to boldly bring abundant clean energy into the hands of eager new "clean energy hungry solutions" for broad-based human progress. Or will the West try to rationalise their "post-affluence despair", by arguing that all evils come from our affluence and the progress we greedily embraced in the past?
It is up to you to decide what make sense...