CHINA / Regional

Official: Worries over nuclear plant unnecessary
By Xie Chuanjiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-05-30 06:15

YANTAI: An official from the State Environmental Protection Administration said concerns over the proposed nuclear power station near a sightseeing resort in East China's Shandong Province are "unnecessary."

"Building the nuclear power station is the most economical way to generate electricity, compared with coal, solar and wind power stations," said Hou Wei, an official with the administration's nuclear power safety inspection department.

Nuclear power stations also emit less pollution compared with other types of stations, he said.

Last Wednesday, the nation's biggest nuclear reactor builder China National Nuclear Corp signed an agreement with the Shandong government to set up a venture and build the nuclear plant in Rushan.

Since then, concerns over the environmental impact of the nuclear power plant in Rushan County of Weihai have been voiced through online forums.

Many have expressed fear that it could bring serious damage to the local environment, since it is only 5 kilometres away from a State-level tourist and resort district.

The official said none of the three planned nuclear power plants in Shandong, including the one in Rushan, has received approval from the central government.

The other two nuclear power plants are located in the province's Rongcheng and Haiyang counties.

"Environment experts will give a careful and scientific examination and verification before the start of the construction," Hou said.

Hou went on to explain that his administration has also solicited opinions from local residents in Rushan about the plant's construction .

Hou said the poll showed that the majority of the residents are not worried about safety or pollution in regards to the plant.

"People are positive to the projects, mainly because of the huge economic benefits brought along with their much cleaner operation compared to coal-fired power plants," Hou said.

As far as netizens venting their worries online, Hou said he believes it is occurring because of the lack of publicity on the safety and advantages of nuclear power plants.

China has planned a string of nuclear power plants along the eastern coast, with others under consideration in landlocked southwestern areas.

(China Daily 05/30/2006 page3)