China keeping close eye on Japan`s N-reactor`s radiation leaks

China said it was keeping a close watch on radiation leaks from a N-power plant in Japan.

Last Updated: Mar 12, 2011, 19:38 PM IST

Beijing: China on Saturday said it was keeping
a close watch on radiation leaks from a nuclear power plant in
northern Japan, but it ruled out changes to its plans for
massive expansion of atomic power projects, claiming its
advanced reactors have built in features to avert such
problems.

China is "keeping a close eye" on the development of
the earthquake`s impact on Japan`s nuclear facilities, Chinese
Vice Minister of Environmental Protection Zhang Lijun said.

The main reactor at Fukushima nuclear plant in
northern Japan, 250 kilometres north of Tokyo, exploded this
afternoon leading to radiation leaks injuring four people as
authorities told 45,000 residents living within a 10-km radius
of the leaking plant to evacuate their homes, Kyodo news
agency reported.

Zhang said officials are monitoring in coastal cities
the possible influence of nuclear leaks from Japan and the
tests showed China had not been affected so far.

However, he made it clear that China will not change
its plan for developing nuclear power projects but will learn
a lesson after a massive earthquake in Japan that resulted in
a radioactive leakage.

"Some lessons we learn from Japan, (They) will be
considered in the making of China`s nuclear power plans," he
told a press conference on the sidelines of the national
parliamentary session in the capital.

"But China will not change its determination and plan
for developing nuclear power," he underlined.

He said China has 13 sets of nuclear power
installations in operation and "tests have shown all of them
are safe," Zhang said.

A radioactive substances leak was detected on Saturday at
Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power
Co., after Japan`s largest-ever earthquake struck northeastern
Japan yesterday, according to Japanese nuclear safety agency.

The reactors in the Japanese nuclear power plants,
which have been affected by the massive quake, are Generation
II reactors and have to rely on back-up electricity to power
its cooling system in times of emergency, according to Lu
Qizhou, general manager of the China Power Investment
Corporation.

But the AP1000 nuclear power reactors, currently under
construction in China`s coastal areas and set to be promoted
in its vast hinterland, are Generation III reactors and have
built in safety features to overcome such a problem, as they
have "a non-powered " cooling system, state-run Xinhua news
agency quoted Lu as saying.

The cooling system consists of a huge tank containing
thousands of tonnes of water above the reactors, and will be
activated by the force of gravity in times of emergency, he
said.

"It`s just like the flush toilet, no power is needed,"
he said.

The general manager also called for enhanced
cooperation among nuclear powered plants.

"When the back-up electricity system fails to function
in one nuclear power plant, other plants should offer
immediate help," he said.

China at present has 13 reactors and approved
construction of 10 more mega nuclear plants, in addition to 25
currently being built to step up its atomic power generation
capacity to 86 gigawatts (GW) by 2020 with a massive
investment of USD 121.5 billion.

From 2011 to 2015, China will launch nuclear energy
projects with a combined generation capacity of 40 million KW,
according to the government`s draft 12th Five-Year Plan.

In addition to boosting the construction of nuclear
power plants in the coastal areas, Zhang said new plants will
be planned in central regions.

PTI