More than 10,000 feared lost in Japanese earthquake, damaged reactors hold lessons for China
China must learn lessons from Japan's nuclear power crisis and ensure its own nuclear power sector develops safely, a top Chinese energy official said, as the country rushes to add new reactors to cut reliance on carbon-intensive coal.
Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, was rocked by an explosion on Saturday after Friday's massive earthquake forced reactors to shut down.
A new explosion hit the plant on Monday, sending a plume of smoke into the air and Japan's nuclear safety agency said it could not confirm whether or not the explosion had led to an uncontrolled leak of radioactivity.
China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp (CGNPC), the country's two nuclear power plant operators, have said all their plants were not affected by the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami.
Relevant Chinese parties must carefully analyze the Japanese accidents, said Liu Tienan, head of the National Energy Administration, in a Monday report posted on the website of the National Development and Reform Commission (www.ndrc.gov.cn).
He said nuclear safety was critical and developing a nuclear power sector safely must be guaranteed.
Liu made the comment when he visited the China Institute of Atomic Energy on Sunday, where China is building its first experimental fast reactor.
China has long set a three-stage nuclear strategy: firstly developing thermal reactor, and then fast reactors and finally fusion reactors. It did not provide a timeframe.
Zhang Lijun, a vice Chinese environment minister, said on Saturday China would not change its plans to develop nuclear power even though some lessons learned from Japan would be considered in the construction of China's nuclear power plants.
Photo shows a technician in protective gear looking out of a window next to a sign reading ''No entry except for those with permission'' at a makeshift facility to screen, cleanse and isolate people with high radiation levels in Nihonmatsu, northern Japan March 14, 2011, after a massive earthquake and tsunami that are feared to have killed more than 10,000 people. Credit: Reuters/Yuriko Nakao