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


It seems China slightly slowed down the approval for its nuclear power projects after the Fukushima nuclear accident. Some experts believe it will be very difficult for you to achieve the generating capacity target of 58 GWe in 2020. So, will you speed up the approvals after taking these nuclear safety measures? Thank you.

Xu Dazhe:

Thank you for your question. We cannot forget the three major nuclear accidents in the world: namely the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in Pennsylvania in March 1979, the Chernobyl nuclear accident in the Soviet Union in April 1986, and the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan in March 2011. We have released this white paper, China's Nuclear Emergency Preparedness, so that we will not be in a rush should a nuclear emergency occur and have necessary and sufficient measures in place to effectively handle it. After the Fukushima nuclear incident, China took some preventative measures. In the period from 2011 to 2014, we slowed down the approval for the under-construction projects, and used the time to do much work.

First, we have conducted massive safety inspections on all nuclear power generating units that are in operation and under-construction.

Second, we have developed the most stringent safety standards. We are fully aware of the fact that nuclear power is a clean and efficient energy source that both China and the whole world urgently need. However, nuclear safety is the prerequisite. We must adopt advanced and mature technologies, safe and reliable standards, scientific and standardized management and do well in nuclear emergency preparedness. We have made a lot of efforts in line with these principles after the Fukushima nuclear accident.

Third, we have comprehensively improved national nuclear emergency preparedness and responses in accordance with international practice, namely the new criteria and new approach of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). All operators of nuclear installations have been ordered to produce emergency handling measures in accordance with the new criteria.

Fourth, we have strengthened top-tier design and conducted overall planning. To meet the criteria of the safety and reliability of nuclear power, we have continuously sought to improve the national nuclear emergency preparation and response mechanism through system enhancement, involving legislation, emergency planning, improved command and rescue capabilities as well as various kinds of technical support.

Just now, I said we were building up a national-level nuclear emergency rescue force. After all the work had been done, people may have noticed we approved the construction of eight new nuclear installations last year. At this rate, by the year 2020 we will achieve the target of 58 GWe in operation and 30 GWe under construction as planned.

Thank you.

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