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UPDATED: 10:34, July 23, 2004
More nuclear plants needed: Editorial
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It is necessary to develop nuclear power in China, said an editorial in People's Daily. An excerpt follows:

As the country's economy develops, the supply of limited energy is showing its negative influence upon further growth.

The State Council's recent decision to accelerate the development of nuclear power in China will help meet the need for economic growth and energy restructuring.

As a clean energy, nuclear power is both technologically safe and mature. It is the third most important method of electricity generation, following hydropower and thermal power production.

China now ranks as the world's second greatest generator of electrical power, in terms of capacity and output. But the unbalanced geographic layout of resources is producing various difficulties. Coal is mainly produced in the northern parts of the country and hydropower is mostly found in the west, but the biggest consumption of electricity occurs in the coastal regions in the east and the south.

The shipment of coal and transfers of electricity over long distances add extra burdens to the nation's transportation system and the environment.

As a result, developing nuclear power has become a natural choice to realize a more balanced development of economic development and the protection of the environment.

China's current achievements in nuclear power have remarkably narrowed the country's gap internationally.

So, conditions are mature for China to accelerate the pace of making use of nuclear power.

In the process, market-orientated means must be used. Design, construction, procurement of equipment and management should all be decided with open bidding.

The costs should be cut down with every possible means so that the price of electricity generated in nuclear power plants has at least the same competitiveness with those generated in thermal power and hydropower plants.

The construction and management of nuclear power plants should also come from domestic industry, if possible. The efforts of research and development of domestic scientists and technicians would help stimulate progress in related sectors.

Accelerating development in nuclear power should be subject to a well-prepared comprehensive plan to avoid shortsightedness and improve overall efficiency.

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