Plans are moving forward to construct a new nuclear power plant in Chongqing municipality, the first such facility in southwest China.
The planned site is on the southern bank of the Yangtze River.
As demand for energy rises, the government has been seeking ways to supplement the use of fossil fuels.
"Nuclear power is one of the effective means for China to solve the problem of energy shortage and meet the environmental challenge," Kang Rixin, president of China National Nuclear Corporation, said.
There are now 11 nuclear power reactors in commercial operation on the mainland, according to the World Nuclear Association.
The government aims to increase the proportion of energy supplied by nuclear reactors from 1.3 percent to more than 5 percent by 2030, Zhang Guobao, chief of the National Energy Bureau, said.
Chongqing is the largest city in southwest China. In recent years, droughts and coal shortages have threatened the reliability of the municipal power supply.
The city currently draws the majority of its electricity from hydropower and coal-fired plants.
To address concerns about a potential energy crunch, the Chongqing municipal government has commissioned a report to investigate the feasibility and environmental impact of constructing a nearby nuclear power station.
The report is not yet complete, but so far has revealed no serious obstacles.
Preliminary findings indicate that exposure to small amounts of radiation would not be dangerous for nearby residents.
Construction plans will also need to be approved by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
If approval is granted, construction is expected to commence next year, the Chongqing government said.
(China Daily June 26, 2008)