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Despite safety concerns, China resuming construction of nuclear plants 

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, 12 Feb 15 BEIJING–Facing growing energy demands and struggling against air pollution, China this year plans to resume full-scale construction of nuclear power plants for the first time since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011.

The country’s target is to triple the electricity generation capacity of its nuclear power plants to 58 gigawatts by 2020. That figure would approach the level of France, whose current nuclear generation capacity is second only to that of the United States.

But the variety of reactors that China wants to fire up has raised concerns that workers and engineers will be ill-prepared if a disaster strikes………

In November 2014, China’s National Development and Reform Commission applied to the Standing Committee of the State Council for permission to build six nuclear reactors in the coastal area of Shidao Bay and other regions. The six include China’s first domestically produced third-generation reactors and new-type reactors with little actual operating experience.

Some government officials are cautious about approving the application…….

In China, three major state-run operators of nuclear power plants have adopted separate technologies from the United States, France and Russia. The various types of reactors and technologies used in China have sparked concerns about safety at the nuclear plants.

In addition, workers at nuclear plants in China have had little experience in dealing with emergencies. Critics also say that the nurturing of nuclear engineers in the country is not keeping pace with the rapid increase in the number of nuclear reactors.

(This article was written by Nozomu Hayashi and Tokuhiko Saito.)

February 13, 2015 - Posted by | China, safety

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