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China, Japan, DPRK to share info on nuke safety
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China, Japan and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will sign an agreement to establish an information sharing mechanism on nuclear safety in Tokyo today.

Representatives from the nuclear regulatory bodies of the three countries have agreed to set up an inter-governmental hotline on nuclear accidents, a source from China's National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) said.

Japan, with the longest history of nuclear power development among the three, will also share its experience on nuclear security and management with China and the DPRK, Kyodo News reported Thursday.

It said the agreement includes the exchange of information on anti-seismic technologies at nuclear-related facilities as both China and Japan face challenges from earthquakes.

The deadly earthquake that hit Sichuan province in May at one time threatened the safety of more than 100 radioactive sources. All were eventually made safe.

Similarly, reactors at a nuclear power plant near Niigata in northwestern Japan stopped automatically after a 6.8-magnitude earthquake last year.

Nuclear power has now become an important solution to tackling the world's energy problem. According to the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, a non-profit organization, there are 55 nuclear power plants operating in Japan, 20 in the DPRK, and 11 in China. An additional 38 plants are either being constructed or planned in the three countries.

China will accelerate development of the nuclear energy sector, particularly in the coastal regions, to ease mounting pressures on coal transportation and electricity transmission, the National Energy Bureau said earlier.

By 2020, nuclear power will make up a minimum of 5 percent of China's total energy mix, from the current level of less than 2 percent.

With the establishment of the NNSA in 1984, nuclear safety is being closely monitored.

No major incidents have been reported at nuclear installations in the past two decades.

(China Daily September 5, 2008)

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