China admits nuclear emergency response ‘inadequate’ as safety concerns halt construction of two Guangdong reactors, South China Morning Post, Wednesday, 27 January, 2016, Stephen Chen China admitted on Wednesday its nuclear emergency response mechanism is “inadequate” for coping with “new situations and challenges” arising from its nuclear power plants.
The central government also said it had halted construction of two new-generation nuclear reactors in Guangdong province, because of safety concerns, but vowed that they would not be abandoned……..
Concerns over nuclear safety in Hong Kong and Macau have caught particular attention of the central government. A section in the white paper was dedicated to the issue with promise to “answer public concerns in time” and “clear the doubts”.
Xu Dazhe, chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority, told a press conference on Wednesday that the construction of the two European Pressurised Reactors in Taishan, in Guangdong, had been delayed owing to safety concerns…….
State-owned nuclear companies are also trying to sell their technology and reactors to other countries, including Britain, while considering controversial projects such as building a floating nuclear power plant in the South China Sea to provide remote islands in disputed waters. http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/1906287/china-admits-nuclear-emergency-response-inadequate
China backs U.N. move to denounce North Korea over nuclear test, WP, By Carol Morello and Simon Denyer January 28 16, BEIJING — Secretary of State John F. Kerry and China’s foreign minister agreed Wednesday to move ahead with a U.N. resolution condemning North Korea for its latest nuclear test, but they appeared as far apart as ever on how far to push Pyongyang………https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/china-agrees-to-sanctions-against-north-korea-during-kerry-visit/2016/01/27/2d09569a-bfcd-11e5-98c8-7fab78677d51_story.html
Chinese President Xi Jinping tipped to attend nuclear summit in US, South China Morning Post, Sidney Leng sidney.leng@scmp 24 Jan 16 Despite disagreement on North Korea, Beijing and Washington ‘have much common ground’President Xi Jinping is expected to make his second visit to the United States in less than a year to attend the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in March, according to national defence and military experts from both countries.
During Xi’s state visit to the US in September, the two countries agreed to deepen cooperation on nuclear security. Beijing has not confirmed Xi’s attendance, but several Chinese academics and analysts at a China Energy Fund Committee conference in Hong Kong yesterday said he would probably go.
A White House fact sheet dated September also said the two countries might hold a meeting before the summit to discuss nuclear security.
“The two countries share common interests in intercepting nuclear terrorism, so I think there is plenty of room for cooperation on it, among other issues,” said Zhang Tuosheng, from the China Foundation For International and Strategic Studies.
Chinese foreign policy strategists say China has already put enough pressure on North Korea, made denuclearisation a priority in the region and insisted on addressing the issue through dialogue.
“If the six-party talks [involving the two Koreas, Japan, China, Russia and the US] don’t work, then I propose trilateral dialogues, such as ones between China, the US and South Korea. The most important thing is managing a crisis,” Zhang said. http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/1904776/chinese-president-xi-jinping-tipped-attend-nuclear
And the big problem: Human memory is short, even when it comes to disaster
In an effort to become the largest exporter of nuclear-energy technology, China has started building a reactor housed in a floating vessel, which is scheduled to be finished by 2020. If that sounds alarming, brace yourself: More than 100 additional nuclear reactors are planned for the next decade.
The idea behind this “micro” 200-megawatt reactor (1 megawatt can power 1,000 homes) was to create a mobile energy source for offshore oil and gas exploration, as well as provide electricity, heating, and facilitate desalination for islands and coastal areas.
I don’t know about you, but this certainly gets my Geiger counter beeping with unease. While some dismiss the danger, saying floating nuclear reactors aren’t all that dangerous — nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers basically fit that description — the truth remains that it’s still a freaking nuclear reactor. History taught us the price we have to pay every time “highly unlikely” disasters happen, and now that another 100 of these will be built in the coming decade, the likelihood of yet another nuclear disaster will increase.
The Chinese government did its best to cover up the disaster, silencing local and foreign journalists. Now imagine if it were a floating nuclear reactor. Nothing would change, apart from more dire consequences and even more censorship.
Also looking to join the fun in the radioactive sun is Russia’s Akademik Lomonosov. This floating nuclear power plant will be ready for deployment in October. It’s going to be used to power port cities, industrial infrastructure, and oil and gas drilling rigs and refineries, which, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, will prove to be a great asset in Arctic exploration. The ship is 144 meters long with two reactors capable of producing 70 megawatts of electricity.
Although they have their fair share of nuclear “mishaps,” the Russians are kicking their nuclear efforts up a notch: Akademik Lomonosov is only the first of many floating nuclear power plants that will be built. Vessels will also be available to rent. So far, 15 countries have shown interest in having these power plants for their own use.
Here’s where things get scary: Imagine that out of hundreds of these floating nuclear power plants, just a dozen or so become targeted by terrorists or a military force. Regardless of the scenario, the resulting tragedy would be felt worldwide.
Of course, I could be wrong. Perhaps we’re ushering in a sort of a nuclear renaissance, an age in which nuclear energy really proves to be a safer and better solution than fossil-fuel sources.
But I doubt it. Humanity has proven that it understands the dangers of something only when the worst has already happened, and even then just for a brief while. ..
You can thank the Chernobyl disaster for 20 years of stagnation (1986-2006) during which time fewer nuclear power plants were built. In 2007, however, humanity tried its luck with nuclear energy again. Following a short increase, we saw yet another decline in 2011. Why? You guessed it: That was the year of the Fukushima disaster, and it took the world less than five years to forget the effects of the meltdown. It’s time for another adventure!
But what of Fukushima? As of 2013, the site in Japan remained highly radioactive, with some 160,000 evacuees still living in temporary housing, and tracts of land that will likely remain unsuitable for farming for centuries. The difficult cleanup job will take 40 years or longer to complete, and will cost tens of billions of dollars. Following the disaster, Japan shut down 54 nuclear power plants.
We’ve seen what happens when things go awry with just one nuclear power plant. Now, with hundreds in the making, will we live long enough to finally learn from our mistakes? Let’s hope so.
Chinese oil, nuclear companies to develop floating atomic platforms for offshore drilling http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/01/15/business/chinese-oil-nuclear-companies-develop-floating-atomic-platforms-offshore-drilling/#.VplMlZp97Gh TOKYO/HONG KONG – China National Offshore Oil Corp. and China General Nuclear Power Corp. will work together to develop nuclear technology for use in sea-based oil fields, the country’s biggest offshore explorer announced on Friday.
The state-owned companies signed the strategic cooperation framework on Jan. 14, China National Offshore said on its official Weibo account on Friday. CGN, China’s biggest nuclear power operator, announced on Jan. 12 that the government had approved construction of a demonstration floating nuclear reactor that could be used for offshore oil production.
“This partnership will push forward the organic integration of the offshore oil industry and the nuclear power industry,” China National Offshore said in the statement.
The National Development and Reform Commission, China’s economic planner, has urged CGN to speed up the pace of development of the floating reactor, known as the ACPR50S, the company said in its Jan. 12 statement. Construction of the demonstration reactor is expected to start next year, with it powering up by 2020, according to CGN.
While reprocessing reduces the level of radioactivity in nuclear waste, The Union of Concerned Scientists – an advocacy group that was founded by scientists and students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – says it does not reduce the need for storage and secure disposal of waste.
Some within China’s own nuclear establishment are also questioning the merits of reprocessing as the nation mulls huge capital investments in the sector, U.S.-based experts say.
China is an important market for the world’s nuclear industry giants, including the United States. The U.S. last year eased restrictions on its civilian nuclear cooperation with China to allow the reprocessing of fuel from U.S.-designed reactors
China faces nuclear energy choice: reprocess or not? WT, By MATTHEW PENNINGTON – Associated Press – Thursday, January 14, 2016 WASHINGTON (AP) – China is coming to a crossroads as it hurriedly increases nuclear power production to cope with rising electricity demand and cut carbon emissions: Should it reprocess its nuclear waste or store it?
Nonproliferation advocates warn that recycling waste would generate weapons-usable plutonium, posing a security risk and potentially stirring a nuclear rivalry in East Asia. A new Harvard University study, co-authored by a senior Chinese nuclear engineer, gives another reason against reprocessing – it doesn’t make economic sense. Continue reading
Radiation fears in Hong Kong from China’s unproven and possibly faulty nuclear reactors nearby, Post Magazine, Stuart Heaver, 10 Jan 16 “……. the only customer for the American Westinghouse AP1000 reactor is China, which is currently constructing four, in Zhejiang and Shandong provinces. The third-generation AP1000 is also untested in the real world, and the reactors being built in China are years behind schedule, too.
When, in November, Areva announced a possible minority stake sale to another major player, China National Nuclear Corp, and a partnership covering all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, some commentators saw it as a bailout by the Chinese. Schneider finds it astounding that anyone would seek a partnership with what he calls a “bankrupt company”.
“Everybody is scared to death about losing billions of euros if these plants don’t open,” says Schneider, adding that all eyes will be on tests in France scheduled for this year and the ASN will be under enormous pressure.
“You don’t need to be an expert to imagine the huge commercial pressure in play,” says Schneider. “But what does it mean when an almost bankrupt company is operating a nuclear facility?”…..http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/article/1898583/hong-kong-fallout-chinas-reckless-nuclear-ambitions-feared
Radiation fears in Hong Kong from China’s unproven and possibly faulty nuclear reactors nearby, Post Magazine, Stuart Heaver, 10 Jan 16 “……Age is a concern in China because nuclear plants are most dangerous at the beginning as well as at the end of their life cycles. The 1979 Three Mile Island accident in the US occurred in a reactor that had started operation only three months earlier, and the accident at Chernobyl occurred after only two years of operation. A serious loss of coolant occurred at the French Civaux-1 reactor in 1998, less than five months after start-up.
With regard to external threats, one of the Guangdong plants on the drawing board is proposed for Huizhou, which, it is envisioned, will have two AP1000 reactors up and running by 2025. Earthquaketrack.com reports that no less than 16 earthquakes have shaken Huizhou in the past 30 years, the most recent, on August 31, 2012, having a magnitude of 4.4.
Nature explains that the “culture of safety” is an intangible value but extends beyond legislation and regulation to an innate appreciation of risk. Recent industrial accidents, such as the explosion at the port of Tianjin last August and the mudslide at a construction-waste site in Shenzhen last month, suggest such a culture isn’t particularly strong in China.
“We are very worried about Taishan and the design flaws in the reactor vessel and we would like to know what CGN are doing,” says Frances Yeung Hoi-shan, energy group leader for Greenpeace Asia. “We simply don’t know. Investors were informed that the plant would not open until 2017 but there was little detail.”
It comes as no surprise that Greenpeace Asia has consistently rejected nuclear power as part of Hong Kong’s energy mix – the parent group was initially set up to protest nuclear weapons testing, after all – but it has a separate concern about the proliferation of nuclear plants in Guangdong and how transparent the safety processes will be. In April, the environmental group wrote to the Hong Kong government requesting information about Taishan 1&2 and Yeeng was not impressed with the reply, which only reaffirmed that any major incidents would be reported as an extension of the protocol set up for Daya Bay and that “tests” were being carried out…….http://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/article/1898583/hong-kong-fallout-chinas-reckless-nuclear-ambitions-feared
“In Daya Bay, we adopted French technology, but we now have multiple technologies and much of it is unproven,” says Lai, echoing the official findings reported to China’s State Council in 2012 as part of a nuclear safety review in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster: “China has multiple types of nuclear reactors, multiple technologies and multiple standards of safety”.
Radiation fears in Hong Kong from China’s unproven and possibly faulty nuclear reactors nearby, Post Magazine, Stuart Heaver, 10 Jan 16 Unproven and possibly faulty nuclear reactors are being built on Hong Kong’s doorstep and throughout China, a country not known for its transparency or industrial safety, writes Stuart Heaver
Scientists and conservationists fear the ever-increasing commercial and environmental pressure to expand the nuclear power sector means not enough attention is being paid to safety. Within a couple of decades, Hong Kong could be in close proximity to as many as 39 reactors, spread across Guangdong province. Two of them are nearing completion just 140km west of Hong Kong, in Taishan, in what has been labelled by green groups as the “most dangerous nuclear power plant in the world”.
“China is developing its nuclear capability too fast; they just don’t have enough trained staff or adequate independent safety infrastructure,” says civil engineer Albert Lai Kwong-tak, convenor of Hong Kong think tank the Professional Commons and a long-standing opponent of nuclear energy. Yet, despite the reservations of campaigners, China is not only the world’s biggest market for nuclear technology but, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), it is set to “go global”.
“The only country that is building plants to a significant degree is China,” says nuclear industry analyst Mycle Schneider……..
there are still no proven safe means of disposing of radioactive waste and, despite pledges to build a dedicated facility, all of Daya Bay’s spent fuel rods are still in a temporary facility about 5km from the main plant. Continue reading
The two came to the National Development and Reform Commission’s building in Beijing on that day to sign an agreement to set up a joint venture. The new company, to be capitalized at 500 million yuan ($76.5 million), will handle export of Hualong One, a pressurized water reactor model that China claims to have developed on its own.
CNNC and CGN, each of which is a major player that ranks within the top three in the Chinese nuclear industry, are coming together with an eye toward increasing the chance of winning orders in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Continue reading
Nuclear energy: Beijing’s power play, Ft.com Christopher Adams and Lucy Hornby, December 29, 2015 China is intent on exporting its nuclear expertise but in the UK scrutiny is increasing. “………. The French-designed plant, which after five years of construction is about to undergo testing, will serve as the prototype for a huge power station planned by the UK in south-west England. It is set to cost £18bn according to the latest estimates by French energy group EDF, which is leading the project.
Hinkley Point, in Somerset, is home to a working nuclear plant and twin disused Magnox reactors. Now David Cameron, UK prime minister, wants the site to host the first of a new generation of reactors that he envisages will replace Britain’s ageing nuclear fleet by 2030.
Under a commercial pact struck during October’s state visit to London by Chinese president Xi Jinping, CGN will take a one-third stake in Hinkley. Its state-owned rival, China National Nuclear Corporation, may also participate. A decade from now, assuming all goes to plan, Taishan’s distinctive egg-shaped reactor domes, double-hulled walls and monster turbines will dominate the shoreline of the Severn estuary. Hinkley Point C will supply 7 per cent of the UK’s electricity……….
CGN can ill-afford errors at Taishan, one of three unfinished projects using a third-generation technology called the European pressurised reactor. Designed by Areva of France, these reactors are being touted as a revolution in nuclear power. But they have had a troubled start on projects at Flamanville in France and Olkiluoto in Finland.
Taishan, too, has suffered delays, albeit not as bad as those in Europe. As a result, CGN is treading carefully. The Chinese plant’s targeted completion date, originally late 2013, has already been put back once, in part because of safety rules after Fukushima. Now it will probably come online in 2017 — though CGN will not say exactly when. Says Mr Zheng: “We must perform a lot of tests, and since it’s now a first of a kind, we need to do more tests than we planned. Those tests should have been done already in Finland or France, but we must do them now.”
The construction problems highlight the complexity of the EPR projects. There are questions over whether there really is demand for these larger reactors, given their cost and size. Mr Guo, though, is bullish. Standing under an 80-tonne door that will one day seal off the reactor hall, he lists the EPR’s credentials…….
He Zuoxiu, a retired physicist who helped develop China’s nuclear programme in the 1960s, questions whether nuclear power will ever truly be safe, even with safeguards to prevent disasters such as Fukushima. He cites a statistic: the US, Russia and Japan each had more than 50 reactors when they suffered accidents. In other words, the more a country has, the greater the chance of something going wrong……..
There are worries, too, that Britain’s tilt towards China — and chancellor George Osborne’s embrace of its investment — will open the door to security risks. The UK shift has caused consternation in the US, which accuses China’s state-owned industry of benefiting from military-linked corporate espionage.
Patrick Cronin, an Asia expert at the Center for a New American Security, says Britain should take care to balance its economic needs against those of national security, particularly on critical infrastructure such as nuclear plants. “Let’s say that 10 years from now there is a major conflict with China. This would give China, effectively, a veto over UK participation, for example, over the Taiwan issue in the next decade,” says Mr Cronin.
“Just understanding the most vulnerable parts of reactors in Britain is a vulnerability. A Chinese state-owned enterprise may show that information to people who have ill intentions to the UK, especially if there’s a crisis.”
Concerns have also been raised in Whitehall over the prospect of China being able to build digital loopholes into hardware it supplies, allowing Beijing to exploit vulnerabilities at nuclear plants. CNNC’s background as China’s nuclear weapons developer before it built the country’s civilian reactors has added to those fears……… http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/789e5070-974a-11e5-9228-87e603d47bdc.html#axzz3vvmo6esp
India red flags fresh nuclear reactors in Pakistan with China’s help By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET Bureau | 18 Dec, 2015 NEW DELHI: India has red flagged fresh nuclear reactors that are being set up in Pakistan with Chinese assistance and asserted that it is taking adequate steps to safeguard any challenge to the country’s security due to these developments.
“The government remains committed to taking all necessary steps to safeguard India’s national security interests,” he said.
Earlier this year a Chinese official publicly confirmed that Beijing is involved in at least six nuclear power projects in Pakistan and is likely to export more to the country. …….
Revelations about the growing Sino-Pakistan nuclear partnership comes amid continuing concerns in some quarters that ongoing cooperation is happening without the sanction of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) which helps supervise the export of global civilian nuclear technology. China is a member of the NSG and existing regulations prohibit members from exporting such technology to nations such as Pakistan which does not have full-fledged safeguard mechanism……
China confident of winning $80b S. Africa nuclear power bid
By Lyu Chang (China Daily): 2015-12-12 Industry officials are confident of China being the front-runner to win the right to build South Africa’s new generation of nuclear power stations.
“We think we are likely to win the bid, after preparing all the documents for the tender,” ZhengMingguang, head of the Shanghai Nuclear Engineering Research and Design Institute, ahigh-tech arm of the State Nuclear Power Technology Corp.
“The nuclear energy industry also involves other issues, so we can’t set any date yet on thefinal bidding process,” he said.
The country hopes to land the contract using its CAP1400 nuclear technology, which isdesigned by SNERDI and based on the AP1000 reactor technology developed by the UnitedStates-based Westinghouse Electric Co LLC.
South Africa currently operates the continent’s only nuclear power plant, near Cape Town, butthe country is currently facing chronic electricity shortages.
The Pretoria government invited tenders in July for an estimated $80 billion contract to buildfour nuclear reactors－the largest contract in the country’s history－which attractedwidespread interest, including from State Nuclear Power Technology Corp, Russia’s stateatomic agency Rosatom and French nuclear firms…….http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2015-12/12/content_22695369.htm
China’s nuclear technology ambition is worrying: The Yomiuri Shimbun Straits.com 15 Dec 15 In its editorial on Dec 15, 2015, The Yomiuri Shimbun hopes China will follow up on its nuclear ambitions with suitable regulatory measures. We cannot afford to be unconcerned about China’s moves to accelerate construction of nuclear power plants.
Is the safety of these facilities ensured?….
The administration of Chinese President Xi Jinping is planning to further increase the number of nuclear power plants to cope with the nation’s serious air pollution, which stems from coal-fired power generation, and increasing energy demand.
According to local media reports, Beijing will build six to eight nuclear reactors annually in the next five years. By 2030, the number is set to reach 110, surpassing the 99 in the United States.
One major concern is that information about nuclear power plants in China is extremely limited.
China’s nuclear power operations began in 1994, and the number of nuclear reactors has increased rapidly since then.
However, the details of regulatory standards are not disclosed – it is quite obscure what kind of safety measures China is currently taking.
There are limited examples of the Chinese government officially disclosing troubles with the nation’s nuclear power plants to the public, such as leaks of radioactive material or mechanical problems caused by accidents.
The less information available, the more concern there is. The Japanese government must reinforce its measures to collect information on China’s nuclear power plants.
Prevailing westerlies bring yellow sand and air pollutants to Japan from China. If serious nuclear accidents occur in China, there could be serious repercussions for Japan.
It cannot be overlooked the fact that China’s nuclear power plants are concentrated in coastal areas.
After the nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Beijing has put restrictions on the construction of nuclear power plants in inland areas. We assume Beijing is wary of the domestic impact from accidents if they occur inland.
China’s nuclear reactors rarely use technologies developed in the country – they are basically an amalgamation of technologies imported from European countries, the United States and Japan.
Japan provides core parts, such as reactor pressure vessels.
In recent years, China’s export drive on nuclear power plants has received worldwide attention…….
Beijing is also constructing Hualong One reactors in Pakistan, and is seeking to launch a promotion drive in South American and African countries.
However, we must point out that Hualong One is a model still under construction even in China itself. It is problematic that a model without sufficient operation records has begun sweeping the whole world…….. http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/chinas-nuclear-technology-ambition-is-worrying-the-yomiuri-shimbun
Mixed Fortunes for Nuclear Power NYT, DEC. 7, 2015 In July 2013, hundreds of people took to the streets in the southern Chinese city of Jiangmen to protest the proposed construction of a uranium processing plant in the region.
The $6 billion plant would have supplied fuel for the country’s rapidly expanding nuclear power industry. But the plan was dropped in the face of public opposition, the first case of its kind in China, said Keith Florig, a risk-management researcher at the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business.
The protest, and its fallout, are important events in a country that has 22 nuclear power reactors under construction and more planned, as well as a growing international business selling nuclear energy technology to countries including Argentina, Britain and Pakistan. Mr. Florig said that this “rate of development hasn’t happened since the late 1960s and early 1970s in the U.S. and Soviet Union.”
At the same time, Mr. Florig characterized China as being underprepared for dealing with the public opinion issues that have plagued nuclear energy in developed countries.
He said that about 15 years ago he had interviewed Chinese energy officials to find out what they knew about nuclear energy development in the West. He found that they were uniformly focused on the technical challenges of controlling nuclear fission and using the heat it produced to boil water, create steam and power electric turbines. No one seemed to be aware of the social, political and economic challenges….
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