He said the authorities had weighed the gains and risks from speeding up the construction of nuclear power plants.
"All sides (policymakers and the public) have reached the consensus that nuclear energy is an ideal option for China," he said.
While the choosing of sites for nuclear plants in the inland areas is being quickened, Zhang said construction of the power plants should first be sped up in energy-intensive coastal areas.
He said that with the industrialization of key technologies and proper waste disposal, the country was capable of realizing the increased use of nuclear power.
Zhang added that even as the country had command of key technologies, it would strengthen efforts in international cooperation in the sector.
China currently has 11 nuclear power plants with a combined installed capacity of 9.08 million kW. Three use domestic technology, two are based on Russian technology, four use French technology and two are Canadian-designed.
Wind power in China has already exceeded energy development plan targets and the country is set to become the world's largest generator of wind power, Zhang said.
The Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Gansu and Jiangsu provinces have been picked to hold the country's first batch of wind power clusters, designed to generate 10 million kW each, Zhang said.
This is compared with about 18 million kW from the Three Gorges electricity power generators in the Yangtze River.
He said when all the wind farms are put into operation by 2013, China will surpass Germany as the world's biggest wind power producer. Currently, Germany has the wind power capacity of 22 million kW.
With currently 74 officers in charge of the country's energy administration, Zhang said that more staff will be recruited to his bureau to strengthen energy management.
But he added that the bureau, seen as likely to take responsibility for the planning and approval of energy projects, is not seeking to obtain the authority to control pricing in the sector.
Currently, the pricing rights of refined oil and electricity are in the hands of the NDRC's pricing department.
"No matter who is in charge, the goal of our reform is to let the market have the final say," Zhang said.
He added that there is no immediate decision to deregulate refined oil prices.
(China Daily March 24, 2008)