Canberra: China`s rapid construction plans
for nuclear generators will be affected by Japan`s radiation crisis, but atomic power will be an essential supplier of the
nation`s burgeoning energy needs in the future, an official
Chinese climate change envoy Xie Zhenhua said China`s
nuclear power rollout was under review in response to the
unfolding emergency at Japan`s crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi
power plant, which is leaking radiation following a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11.
"I believe this accident will have some impact on the
development of nuclear power not only in China, but also the
rest of the world," Xie told reporters at a bilateral climate
change policy forum in Australia`s capital.
"I think that the nuclear development plan of China will
be affected to a certain extent," he added, without elaborating.
Chinese power industry official Wei Zhaofeng was quoted
by state media on Tuesday as saying that China was likely to
scale back its plant construction plans under a new policy
that stresses safety instead of rapid development.
Xie said nuclear and hydroelectric power would be the
major contributors to fulfilling China`s target of having
non-fossil fuels account for 15 percent of national energy
needs by 2020.
Beijing`s plans had called for nuclear plants to supply
up to 5 per cent of China`s power by 2020, but Wei said under
the new policy, it would likely be closer to 3 per cent.
Xie said geological surveys were under way in China to
ensure that the proposed locations of future nuclear plants
were safe from earthquakes.
Plant management and monitoring safety standards were
also under review, he said. "We have to ensure 100 percent
safety of these nuclear power plants," Xie said.
But alternatives to nuclear energy such as building more
hydroelectric dams also carry problems, including ecological
damage, difficulties in relocating populations whose
communities would be flooded and cost, he said.