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Nuclear plant scrapped

By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2013-07-14 08:03

Guangdong officials cancel plans for fuel facility after public outcry

A planned facility to process nuclear fuel in Jiangmen of Guangdong province has been canceled, following opposition by a majority of residents, the local government said on Saturday.

The 229-hectare Longwan Industrial Park project, which had been scheduled in Heshan, a county-level city in Jiangmen of the Pearl River Delta region, would have featured facilities for uranium conversion, enrichment and manufacturing of nuclear fuel equipment, sources with the government said.

However, the project has met criticism from local residents since authorities publicized a risk-stability assessment report about the industrial park on July 4.

Many residents "took a walk" on streets in protest against the project on Friday, holding banners and wearing T-shirts with slogans calling to halt construction of the planned facility, Xinhua News Agency reported.

"We pay respect to the residents' opinion and will not apply for approval for the project," Wu Yuxiong, mayor of Heshan, said at the news conference on Saturday.

The project was owned by China National Nuclear Corporation, the main body of the national nuclear technology industry. The company did not comment on Saturday about the suspension.

The project, the first industrial park planned in South China for nuclear fuel production, was designed with an investment of up to 37 billion yuan ($6.02 billion).

It would have supplied power plants in Guangdong and neighboring Fujian province, with designed capacity of 1,000 tons of uranium in 2020.

Protestors said they were upset because the planned site is only 30 kilometers away from the heart of the city.

"We don't need such a project to boost the economy. Instead, we need a healthy living environment," said a resident surnamed Huang.

The cancellation of the plant came after China shook off concerns over nuclear safety after the Fukushima disaster in Japan, and announced plans to increase the installed nuclear power generation capacity in the following years.

China's electricity generated by nuclear power plants accounted for only 1.2 percent of the total electricity in 2012, sources told Xinhua. The plan has been to increase that to 5 percent by 2020.

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