Beijing: China is updating its atomic
emergency and safety plan and building capacity to handle
nuclear accidents in the aftermath of Fukushima nuclear disaster to handle such emergencies, officials said on Saturday.
The two-day meeting of the national nuclear emergency
coordination committee which concluded today discussed the
revision of China's nuclear emergency plan, as well as the
12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) for nuclear emergencies.
An expert panel set up yesterday was expected to
provide professional advice to the committee.
The committee will be expanded to involve more
government departments and provinces, Wang Yiren, deputy head
of State Administration of Science, Technology said. The
number of provinces that have nuclear emergency plans will
increase from 12 to 16, he said.
Efforts will also be made to draft more laws
governing nuclear emergencies, build capability to handle a
nuclear accident, and carry out more nuclear emergency drills,
he said. The meeting came after President Hu Jintao told the
2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit last week that nuclear
security and energy could work in tandem by using a
"scientific and sensible" approach.
China and other countries were alerted by the
Fukushima crisis last year, which still has a lingering
impact. Wang said that China took immediate action after the
Fukushima crisis. The committee organised inspections of all
civil and military nuclear facilities, concluding that
"overall nuclear safety in China is controllable".
But experts believed safety hazards still remain, as
China is often hit by natural disasters and nuclear power is
developing quickly. According to the National Energy
Administration, China has 15 nuclear reactors in operation,
mostly in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Guangdong provinces. At
present 26 more nuclear reactors are under construction.
By 2015, China will have 41 nuclear reactors.
Xia Yihua, a radiation expert at the China Institute
of Atomic Energy, believed that despite the overall safe
situation, there is much more that can be improved, such as
people's safety consciousness and the government's capital
input into capacity building.
"The country's nuclear emergency plan can also be
improved technically, such as how to deal with extremely
serious accidents, which is a shared problem facing all
countries with nuclear facilities," he told state run China
Chen Weiyang with the Headquarters of the General
Staff of the People's Liberation Army suggested the country
should train more professionals to deal with nuclear
emergencies. He said the country also needed to build up a
special team that can monitor nuclear radiation in the air.
"Nuclear accidents usually influence a wide area.
Ground-based supervision takes much longer to determine the
overall impact. In emergencies, we'll need a team that can
quickly find out the overall impact," he said.
First Published: Saturday, April 07, 2012, 16:55