Experts call for safer, more effective nuclear development


2011-05-12 11:21

BEIJING -- Japan's Fukushina nuclear accident should not stop China from pursuing its own strategy for nuclear development, but it should be taken as a warning that China should develop nuclear power in a "more effective way" with safety as a top priority, said nuclear experts.

Security management in Chinese nuclear plants should be further improved with plans drawn up for extreme disasters, as well as secondary ones, said Zhao Chengkun, vice-chairman of the China Nuclear Energy Association.

Zhao, who was speaking at a nuclear seminar held on Wednesday, said the destruction of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant after the quake-triggered tsunami on March 11 has taught China a lesson.

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China should further evaluate and strengthen the security system of the country's existing nuclear plants, with particular attention on the reactor cavity cooling system, he said.

Early in March, the Chinese government has ordered safety checks at all nuclear power plants following explosions at the Fukushima plant. It also suspended the approval process for nuclear power stations so officials might revise safety standards.

So far, both safety checks by government departments and power plants' self-examinations have been completed and results of the safety checks will be released at the end of this month, according to Chen Ye, assistant general manager of China National Nuclear Corporation.

Nuclear corporations that had concluded self-examinations, including CNNC and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, said the design of the plants has met the requirements, but there is still room for improvement in disaster-response capabilities and environmental monitoring.

China has six nuclear power plants in operation, which are located along the country's eastern and southern coasts.

Tang Bo, an official with the National Nuclear Safety Administration, said the explosions at the Fukushima plant were an accident far beyond the scope of the plant's design.

A country should prepare itself for such "residual risks" while seeking nuclear power development, since there is no absolute security, he said.

His view was echoed by Zhao, who believed there is no need to "give up eating in fear of choking", as the safe and effective development of nuclear power is necessary for China to provide a steady source of energy to support economic development and meet emission reduction targets.

Zhao noted that the Chinese government should further improve systems of environmental monitoring and emergency responses. It should also strengthen public education about nuclear knowledge and build the capability of public emergency responses for people who live around nuclear plants.

Experts said China should adopt the highest safety standards on the country's existing nuclear plants, while introducing more advanced nuclear technologies and equipment.

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