SCIO briefing on China's nuclear emergency preparedness

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Xu Dazhe, director of the China Atomic Energy Authority, director general of the State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND), and deputy director of theNational Nuclear Emergency Coordination Committee (CNNECC)

Hu Kaihong, vice director-general of the Press Bureau, State Council Information Office

Jan.27, 2016

Cable TV Hong Kong:

Last year, according to a report from the China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN), the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant postponed the application of two third-generation European Pressurized Reactors (EPR). In 2014, the annual report of the National Nuclear Safety Administration said the construction of the two reactors of the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant was progressing smoothly with sound safety and quality management conditions. However, sub-quality problems have been found in the reactors. Who was in charge of the checks and inspections? Was China incapable of administering these procedures? Was the National Nuclear Safety Administration responsible? Is the construction of the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant ongoing or has it been suspended?

Xu Dazhe:

As far as I know, it is true that the construction of the EPR at the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant was a little bit delayed. However, it can be hailed as the fastest when compared to the construction of similar reactors. The reason behind the delay is that we placed safety as the top priority. If there are any problems, we address them before proceeding to the next step. The fact that it remains the fastest project despite the hold-up underlines China's hard work in this respect. The construction of the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant has not been halted, and we are still proceeding according to the schedule. Last year's "Shendun-2015" was an exercise which simulated possible accidents at the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant and activated the fifth line of the five-line defense during the process. We attach a great level of importance to nuclear safety in Guangdong Province and the adjacent Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and have communicated extensively with Hong Kong people from all circles. The EPR is a third-generation nuclear reactor. I think the overall construction is progressing smoothly. Staff members from CGN and the National Nuclear Emergency Response Office, have completed field inspection there and discussed the matter with Hong Kong peers.

Yao Bin:

The French Nuclear Safety Authority discovered that an index of the EPR's vessel and cover didn't match the design during monitoring. This received great attention from the Chinese nuclear department. We are waiting for the results from the French side, and then we will make a thorough analysis and check with the complete EPR reactor. We won't resume the construction of this part until we remove all safety concerns, but the construction of the other parts are still going on.

Xu Dazhe:

I used to be the director of the China National Space Administration. China's strict requirements on space equipment, which ensure there is no problem regarding any piece of equipment, have become an international norm. We are taking a similar approach toward the EPR. We are trying to ensure there are no safety concerns after we learned of the problem. We will make a clear-cut conclusion on this issue. Thank you.

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