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Nuclear research almost complete
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The findings of a feasibility study for a nuclear power station in Sichuan province will soon be submitted for approval to the National Development and Reform Commission, the official in charge of the project said yesterday.

"Construction of the station will begin once we have received approval, and will take about five years to complete," Zhao Hua, head of the Nuclear Power Institute of China, told China Daily.

The facility will cost about 25 billion yuan ($3.7 billion) to build and will have an installed capacity of 4 million to 6 million kWh, he said.

Last year, a team of experts visited the village of Sanba in Sichuan, the proposed site for the province's first nuclear power plant.

The team revisited the site after the May earthquake, and reported its geological structure was sound, Zhao said.

"There was no signs of any subsidence or landslips," he said.

Li Chongxi, deputy secretary of the Sichuan provincial committee said the development of nuclear power is necessary to fuel Sichuan's rapid economic development.

Currently, about 68 percent of the province's energy comes from hydropower.

However, although Sichuan has the largest exploitable hydropower resource in China, it still experiences shortages in the dry season, he said.

As home to the Nuclear Power Institute of China, the Southwest Electric Power Design Institute, Dongfang Electric and Yibin Nuclear Fuel Plant - all leaders in their fields, Sichuan has all the right conditions for the development of nuclear power, Li said.

(China Daily July 23, 2008)

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