Nuclear program will bring more power

Updated: 2012-12-24 07:39

By Jiang Xueqing reports from Shenzhen and Wu Wencong from Beijing (China Daily)

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This estimate falls way below the target of a total installed capacity of 80 million kW by 2020 suggested by many experts in the nuclear power industry before the Fukushima accident. According to State Council requirement, China will resume normal construction of nuclear power facilities in a steady and orderly fashion and at a reasonable pace.

In the wake of the Fukushima accident, the central government gathered experts in nuclear safety, seismology and oceanography. They spent nine months examining the safety of 41 nuclear power reactors nationwide that are either in full operation or under construction. The experts also inspected three units awaiting construction, as well as all civilian research reactors and nuclear fuel cycle facilities.

Meeting the standards

The inspections found that the country's nuclear power plants meet the latest standards set by Chinese laws and regulations on nuclear safety and those of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The plants have been designed to prevent and offer relief during serious accidents, to control risks and to ensure safety.

However, some problems were detected during the inspections. A small number of nuclear power plants failed to meet the new standards on flood-control capacity; some reactors used in civil research and nuclear fuel cycle facilities didn't meet the standards on earthquake resistance capacity; some had failed to draw up or enact rules and procedures to prevent and offer relief during serious accidents; and the operators in general were weak at evaluating and coping with tsunamis.

The relevant government departments and companies acted to rectify the problems. The National Nuclear Safety Administration issued a list of general technical standards for safety improvements, covering eight major factors, including flood control, emergency water replenishment, mobile power supply and radiation monitoring.

For example, under the technical standards, each nuclear power plant with two or more reactors sited 5 km apart should be equipped with at least two diesel generators. They may also choose other types of mobile generators to provide temporary power in emergencies.

A mobile power supply should carry sufficient fuel to run for at least four hours continuously at full power and be able to run for at least 72 hours after refueling. It must be stored in a structure capable of resisting an earthquake one degree above the nuclear plant's designed level of seismic intensity.