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UPDATED: 17:22, August 12, 2004
CNNC: China's nuke power plants safe
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It is safe to generate nuclear power as a clean energy. China's nuclear power plants are safe, said Pan Ziqiang, director of the committee of science and technology under China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), in an interview with People's Daily on August 11.

A concept must be clarified that the accident at Mihama power plant of Japan's Kansai Electric Power on August 9 is not a nuclear incident and that it doesn't exert influence on its surroundings according to Pan.

Pan introduced that a power plant is mainly composed of "nuclear island" and "conventional island" and the steam turbine of the incident was in the "conventional island", which belongs to "nuclear-free area". The composition and principle of the steam turbine in nuclear power plants is the same as those in ordinary power plants. Therefore, that incident is not special for a nuke power plant.

The lesson we have drawn from the accident is: we should not only pay attention to the safety of the "nuclear island", but also to the "conventional island", said Pan, China has made explicit stipulations on the examination of "conventional island" in nuke plants, so it can be guaranteed to say that it is of little possibility for such accidents to happen in China.

It is not necessary for people to worry about the safety of China's nuclear power plants since we have strict measures to guarantee, Pan stressed, China has special monitoring institutions for nuclear safety, the State Nuclear Safety Bureau, which has established comparatively a perfect set of nuclear standards on a nuclear safety system. The safety setup for the whole process of a nuke power plant includes site-selection, design, construction, operation, production and waste disposal. Constant inspections and supervision, which are independent and free from restrictions by the nuclear power producers in operation.

"The nuclear power plants in China, in operation or under construction, are all PWR (pressurized water reactor) nuclear power plants, for which there is little incident rate. Even though there is, it will not do harm on environment seriously,'' Pan said.

Pan added, the PWR nuclear power plants have totally run 10, 000 reactor years (a reactor year is one nuclear power plants operating one year) worldwide while there was only one accident -- leakage of radioactive materials in the Three Mile Island in the United States. However, the accident did not have much impact on the environment, and the radiation the most serious victims received exceeded only half of the background radiation (background radiation: the naturally-occurring ionizing radiation which every person is exposed to, arising from the earth's crust (including radon) and from cosmic radiation.). Due to the different types of reactors, it is even less possible for the tragedies like that at Chernobyl to occur.

By People's Daily Online

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