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China to resume construction of nuclear plants

By LAN LAN (China Daily)

08:22, October 25, 2012

Suspension after Fukushima lifted for stations of ‘highest standards’

The construction of new nuclear power stations, which had been suspended since the Fukushima disaster in March 2011, will be resumed in China.

But only a small number will be launched by 2015 and all of them will be located at coastal sites.

Prior to the Fukushima disaster, some energy officials indicated China would embark on as many as 40 nuclear energy projects during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), and at least seven inland provinces applied to host plants.

In contrast, according to a statement released on the government website on Wednesday, China will resume construction of nuclear power plants "in a steady and orderly way" and "at a reasonable pace".

Two programs — the national plan for nuclear power security (2011-20) and nuclear power development (2011-20) — were approved on Wednesday at an executive meeting of the State Council chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao. A national energy development program up to 2015 was also approved.

All new nuclear reactors must comply with the highest international safety standards, according to the plans.

He Jiankun, director of the Institute of Low Carbon Economy at Tsinghua University, said nuclear power strikes a balance between an increasing thirst for energy and the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions. "Nuclear energy is irreplaceable," he said.

China’s competitiveness will be compromised if it rejects nuclear power or if it fails to use the latest nuclear technology, he said.

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