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SEOUL - The Fukushima nuke accident can not thoroughly repudiate the safety of nuclear power, and a safe and peaceful use of nuclear power technologies is still an strategically important solution to tackle energy issues in the future, Sun Qin, president of China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC), the nation's largest atomic plant operator, said here Sunday.
"Japan's Fukushima nuclear accident, triggered by a devastating earthquake and ensuing tsunami last March, has been rare throughout the operating histories of existing nuclear power plants. The low-possibility, high-consequence incident has given big lessons and dealt a heavy blow to the world's development of nuclear power, but the notion of a safe and peaceful use of nuclear power technology should not be changed, "Sun told Xinhua in an interview on the sidelines of the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit held on March 26-27 in Seoul.
Sun said the nuke accident sounds alarms for the world's nuclear power industry, pointing out the urgent need of adopting higher standards and placing stricter requirements on the nuclear power technology and management.
China suspended approving new nuclear power projects and launched nationwide safety inspections at nuclear power stations and facilities in operation and under construction over safety concerns one year ago after the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
"The incident also warned us that we need to strengthen our ability to deal with such nuclear emergency. We should reinforce the legislation work regarding nuclear development, raising standards in the designing, construction, and operation of the nuclear plants to increase safety; Supervision from both government and enterprises should be tightened towards the industry," said Sun, adding that it is also important to step up efforts in nuclear culture and education, fostering a better public understanding on the nuclear energy utilization.
Sun stressed the need to establish an effective international mechanism of mutual assistance in nuclear safety cooperation. "No country will light on its feet in the event of nuclear crisis, and the neighboring countries will suffer more. We should ramp up efforts to encourage international and regional cooperation and exchanges, share experiences, collectively conduct technology research, and strengthen our ability to deal with nuclear emergency."
International coordination should not only be conducted in nuclear safety, it is also essential to safeguarding nuclear security as there is no boundaries in combating nuclear terrorism given that the perils of nuclear terrorism has post great challenge for the peaceful use of nuclear, according to Sun.
Sun pointed out that concrete international corporation and coordination is needed especially in nuclear security legislation. "Governments of nations should work together to ensure the implementation of the International Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM), which establishes measures related to the prevention, detection and punishment of offenses relating to nuclear material, as soon as possible. "
The CPPNM, signed in March 3, 1980, and amended in 2005, is the only international legally binding undertaking in the area of physical protection of nuclear material, and will take effect once it has been ratified by two-thirds of the States Parties of the Convention.
China has been a responsible country in nuclear safety and security. It has been translating its pledges of fulfilling related commitments in safeguarding nuclear security into actions, and made vigorous efforts in sharing nuclear security experience and consolidating exchange of nuclear information and technologies, said Sun.
Moreover, the nation has given full play to its role of demonstration in nuclear security and safeguards, said Sun.
"The Center of Excellence on Nuclear Security, an idea originally put forward by President Hu Jintao in April 2010 during the Washington summit, won applause from the international community," said Sun.
The demonstrating center, which was reported to be built in the suburb of Beijing, is designed to meet the training needs of developing countries to strengthen their capabilities of nuclear material accounting and control; the physical protection of nuclear material and nuclear facilities and to promote the best practices in maintaining nuclear security throughout the Asia Pacific region.
The center will serve as a forum for exchanging technical information, sharing best practices, developing training courses, and promoting technical collaborations that will enhance nuclear security in China and throughout Asia.
The memorandum of understanding with the United State's Department of Energy to establish the center of excellence, signed during the State visit of President Hu Jintao to Washington in January 2011, has lay a sound foundation, said Sun.
"The whole plan of the demonstrating center has been approved, and is expected to kick off construction soon this year. I believe it will greatly bolster nuclear security capacities of Asian countries," said Sun.