Nuclear approvals may restart: Official

Updated: 2011-12-14 09:16

By Du Juan (China Daily)

  Comments() Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

BEIJING - Chinese regulators may be able to again approve new nuclear projects within six months, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

That resumption will come shortly after the State Council signs draft safety rules proposed by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, said the official, who works in the ministry's National Nuclear Safety Administration and declined to provide his name.

"This is good news for the nuclear industry," he said.

He said the safety draft, as well as a 10-year plan for China's nuclear industry, shows what the central government's attitude is toward nuclear projects.

"Ensuring the safety and regulating nuclear projects and the industry's planning are two big tasks for our department," he said. "But it will take some time for the draft to be finally approved because many departments are involved in the process."

On Monday, the environmental protection ministry said on its website that a new safety regulation governing nuclear power has been prepared and a draft will be submitted to the State Council after it has been revised.

After a large earthquake and tsunami struck Japan's coast on March 11 and damaged the Fukushima Daiichi plant, China halted giving approvals to new nuclear plants. It also started a national safety check of both existing nuclear power stations and those that are under construction.

In April, the State Council said no more approvals would be granted until both existing nuclear projects and those that are under construction have been inspected and until stricter safety regulations have been adopted.

"The safety draft is complete now, which is a big achievement and a foundation for the future of nuclear development in China," said Ruan Keqiang, academician with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and researcher at the China National Nuclear Corporation.

He said China will start evaluating new nuclear power projects after the State Council signs the draft. Even so, the number of new reactors that can be constructed each year may be reduced.

"The safety of these nuclear projects is the priority for all the policymakers and industrial experts," he said.

Another expert said the government may reduce the number of reactors that can be approved each year from eight to six.

Before the earthquake in Japan, China had planned to increase its nuclear-generation capacity by about 10 million kilowatts (kW) annually, building eight reactors each year, the expert said.

China now has 40 million kW of nuclear capacity and it plans to increase its generation capacity by 2 billion kW in the next 10 to 20 years. As much as 300 million kW of that is to come from nuclear power, Shi Lishan, deputy director of the National Energy Administration's new-energy and renewable energy department, said this past week.

China will not swerve from its goal of coming to rely more on nuclear power, said Xie Zhenhua, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, on Nov 22.

Related Stories

Nuclear projects continue 2011-05-26 09:41
Sandvik still sees opportunities in nuclear power 2011-05-20 11:08