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Respect public opinion in nuclear projects

Updated: 2013-07-12 23:07

A nuclear power project will be launched in Heshan, Guangdong province. However, local people doubt that there has been any environmental evaluation. This is a ridiculous situation, said an article in Beijing News (excerpts below).

"We have got a 40 billion yuan ($6.52 billion) project on nuclear fuel processing!" said a recent notice on the Heshan government website. The officials planned to start construction by the end of 2013.

However, local residents have a different view. They have never been given any information on the possible environmental impact of the project, according to reports. In addition, the project lacked an environmental evaluation, which according to law is required for such projects.

The local government is abusing the power invested in its hands by willfully ignoring public opinion. That may have been OK in past decades when people were unaware of their rights, but nowadays the negative effect is already evident: PX projects nationwide have aroused protests, and some of the projects have been canceled.

Officials in Heshan should learn a lesson from the protests sparked by environmental disputes. It is time for them to respect the opinions of local residents on projects that may harm their hometowns, to avoid similar incidents from reoccurring.