SCIO press conference on strengthening eco-environment protection for a Beautiful China

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, August 15, 2023
Adjust font size:

Nuclear safety is the lifeline of nuclear power development. What measures has the MEE taken to ensure nuclear and radiation safety? What are the next steps? Thank you.

Huang Runqiu:

Thank you for your questions. Nuclear safety regulation is an important function of the MEE. Nuclear safety is the lifeline of the nuclear industry and constitutes a significant part of national security. China is a major player in the utilization of nuclear energy and nuclear technology. There are 77 nuclear power units in operation and under construction in the Chinese mainland, placing us second in the world. Over the years, China's nuclear and radiation safety measures have been well implemented, and there have been no incidents or accidents rated at or above Level 2 under the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES). Last year, the World Association of Nuclear Operators conducted a comprehensive index ranking of 387 operating units worldwide, and there were 74 units scoring full marks, of which 37 units were located in the Chinese mainland. At this year's Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety, all parties agreed that China has achieved and maintained a high level of nuclear safety with impressive performance.

China's good nuclear safety performance is the result of the considerable attention of the Party Central Committee. Nuclear safety has been integrated into the national security system, elevated to a national security strategy, and the development of the nuclear industry has always been based on safety. At the Nuclear Security Summit, President Xi Jinping proposed a rational, coordinated, and balanced nuclear safety strategy, placing equal emphasis on development and safety. At this year's National Conference on Ecological and Environmental Protection, General Secretary Xi Jinping once again set forth clear requirements for implementing a holistic approach to national security and taking robust measures to ensure nuclear and radiation safety. Thanks to years of efforts, we have developed a distinctly Chinese approach to nuclear safety.

First, an effective system of policies and regulations has been established. We have promulgated the Nuclear Safety Law, and published the white paper entitled "Nuclear Safety in China." We've formulated and implemented medium- and long-term plans for nuclear safety every five years to coordinate work. We have formed a set of regulations and standards that conform to both international standards and China's domestic conditions. These include two laws, seven administrative regulations, 26 departmental rules, 100 safety guidelines and over 1,000 technical standards, holding high and strict standards.

Second, strict and effective nuclear safety supervision has been carried out. We adhere to the principles of independence, transparency, the rule of law, rationality and effectiveness. We have established a three-in-one nuclear safety supervision system consisting of administrative organs, dispatched agencies, and technical support units. We have strictly reviewed and released licenses throughout the entire nuclear industry chain, awarding the world's first reactor licenses for models such as the AP1000 and Hualong One. We have ensured thorough supervision over the site selection, construction, operation, and decommissioning of nuclear facilities, implementing 24-hour on-site supervision for key nuclear facilities. We have adhered to a problem-oriented approach, promoted risk-oriented supervision, and maintained zero tolerance for illegal operations and dishonesty. At the end of last year, we completed a three-year campaign to address nuclear and radiation safety hazards, conducting 6,141 inspections, keeping detailed accounts of identified problems and urging item-by-item rectifications.

Third, we have stepped up our capability to provide basic safeguards for nuclear security. We have set up a national radiation and environment quality monitoring network, a supervisory monitoring system for key nuclear facilities, and an emergency monitoring network with 1,835 monitoring spots to promptly obtain and publish radioactive environmental data. The emergency response system for nuclear and radioactive accidents has been upgraded, with three quick response teams formed to handle nuclear accidents promptly and effectively. We have constructed a national nuclear safety regulatory technology research and development base and conducted key research initiatives. Moreover, The Longhe disposal site has been built to deal with low-level radioactive waste in China's nuclear power plants.

Next, we will strictly fulfill our responsibility for nuclear safety, comprehensively improve nuclear safety supervision, and strengthen scientific and technological innovation in nuclear safety, to ensure that nuclear safety is foolproof. 

Thank you.

Red Star News:

Hello Mr. Huang! My questions are: Control of new pollutants is an indispensable part of the battle against pollution. Why are they called "new pollutants?" Why is it difficult to control them? How do you plan to tackle this issue in the future? Thank you.

Huang Runqiu:

Thank you for your questions. You have raised a highly contemporary issue in the environmental field. The control of new pollutants is an important deployment made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. It is essential to public health and reflects the new requirements for expanding the depth and breadth of pollution prevention and control efforts.

The term "new pollutants" is a concept relative to the traditional pollutants we are familiar with, such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and PM2.5. New pollutants generally refer to environmentally persistent, bio-accumulative, and bio-toxic chemicals. The environmental and health risks of such substances are not easily detectable. Even if they enter the environment at a low dose, they may pose risks and hidden dangers to our physical health, environmental health, and environmental safety. 

In May last year, the General Office of the State Council issued the action plan for new pollutants control. The MEE, together with other relevant departments, has been actively promoting the implementation of new pollutants control and has achieved substantial results.

First, we've taken stock of the whole picture. We selected more than 4,000 types of chemical substances that are highly hazardous and commonly detected in the environment. We investigated their production and usage, and gradually gained an understanding of their distribution. Second, we've assessed environmental risks. Chemicals banned or restricted internationally but not in China have been included in our assessment plans as a priority, and will go through full lifecycle environmental risk assessments. Third, we strictly maintain a bottom line principle regarding risks. Working with relevant departments, we released the list of key new pollutants under control (2023 version), which outlines control measures, such as prohibitions, restrictions, and emission limitations, for 14 new pollutants that pose prominent environmental risks. For example, short-chain chlorinated paraffin - used to produce school bags, plastic running tracks, and children's toys - is set to be phased out by the end of this year. This year, we will also eliminate two categories of perfluoro chemicals that have drawn international attention and restrict the use of perfluorooctanoic acids, banning their use in waterproof and oil-proof clothing, baking paper, gastroscopy tubes, and so forth. Fourth, we have stepped up supervision and law enforcement. In conjunction with market authorities, we conducted enforcement inspections and investigated and dealt with 15 cases of illegal production of persistent organic pollutants used in building insulation last year. Fifth, we've elevated our guidance and support. Currently, 31 provinces and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps have issued provincial-level work plans for managing new pollutants.

At the same time, we realize that new pollutants, with a wide range of sources, involve numerous industries and long industrial chains, so it is difficult to develop technologies for their treatment, and interdepartmental and intersectoral collaboration are required for the control of such substances. Also, the control of new pollutants in China is still in its early phase, facing shortcomings such as a thin foundation, insufficient resource allocation, and serious capacity insufficiency.

Next, the MEE will work with relevant departments to fully implement General Secretary Xi Jinping's important instructions and the guiding principles from the National Conference on Ecological and Environmental Protection. On the one hand, we will enhance technological support, prioritize the treatment of new pollutants in our national basic research and sci-tech innovation agenda, and secure breakthroughs in core technologies in this field. On the other hand, we will effectively prevent the environmental and health risks of new pollutants. Exercising full life-cycle management of environmental risks, we will further modernize the system and capacity for new pollutants treatment. We will make every effort to maintain a safe eco-environment and protect public health. Thank you.

<  1  2  3  4  5  6  >  

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:    
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from