Beijing residents fear radiation from maglev railway

By Fan Junmei
0 CommentsPrint E-mail, May 20, 2010
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A planned maglev (magnetic levitation) railway in Beijing has prompted concern over the threat of possible electromagnetic radiation.

Residents from a community along the proposed S1 line demanded convincing evidence that no health risk existed from electromagnetic radiation. It's been reported that 15 meters would be the shortest distance between the community and the rail line.

Experts say there is no exact standard for a safe distance between maglev railways and people, and the specific effect of electromagnetic radiation isn't yet clear.

After residents voiced their concern, China Academy of Railway Sciences (CARS) announced on May 12 changes to the line that would extend its underground section to 2.969 km from 0.455 km.

For some residents, this alteration meant nothing; they simply don't want a maglev system but prefer a standard subway line.

Unlike standard subway trains, low-to-medium-speed maglev trains are pollution-free and have low-noise levels. They reach speeds of about 105 km/h, and theoretically could reach 120 km/h. Also, they're low cost and have strong adaptability and climbing capacity.

The proposed S1 line will span 20 kilometers and reach 12 stations, running from Shimenying Station of Mentougou District in the west to the underground floor of Cishousi Station in the east.

Compared with high-speed maglev trains, the low-to-medium-speed version is more applicable to intra-city transportation.

Beijing Enterprises Holdings Maglev Technology Development Company and Tangshan Train Factory have already produced low-to-medium-speed maglev trains, and currently testing is underway.

Along with Beijing, other cities, such as Shenzhen, Tianjin, Jinan, Luoyang, Chongqing, and Changzhou have expressed enthusiasm for applying this technology.

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