China to resume nuclear power expansion – video clip
Chinese authorities announced on Wednesday the country will resume nuclear power plant construction, breaking a self-imposed moratorium.
The partial meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima reactors prompted Chinese authorities to halt plans to expand nuclear energy production. A year later, the same authorities feel they are ready to restart, but have dialled down the expansion plans.
Through a State Council issued white paper, the Chinese regime says it is now looking to produce 40 gigawatts of nuclear power by 2015. That’s less than the original goal of 50 gigawatts set prior to last year.
The country currently has the capacity to produce 12.5 gigawatts through 15 nuclear power generating units. The moratorium after the Fukushima disaster stopped the construction of another 26 units.
Wednesday’s whitepaper sought to ease safety concerns over China’s nuclear ambitions. Even prior to Japan’s nuclear disaster, safety measures and personnel skills were already thought to be inadequate to support the country’s nuclear development ambitions.
Former researcher at the nuclear security center of China’s State Environmental Protection Administration, Professor Li Xutong, says those concerns are still there.
[Professor Li Xutong, Former Nuclear Researcher, SEPA]
“Years of research have found that man-made reasons account for 80% of nuclear incidents. Another 80% of that comes from organizational issues, like management and supervision. We all know that under the Chinese regime, it’s hard to have a comprehensive, effective and transparent nuclear safety system.”
China’s nuclear industry is dominated by state-owned enterprises. Persistent problems including corruption and substandard construction have plagued other state-owned infrastructure sectors like China’s high speed railway. The latest whitepaper says Beijing would encourage more private investment in nuclear energy.
Source – youtube