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China publishes first white paper on nuclear emergency preparedness

19 February 2016

The Chinese government has published its first nuclear white paper, according to Xinhua, giving information on policies and measures to boost nuclear emergency preparedness and highlighting "a rational and balanced" nuclear security approach. The paper, China's Nuclear Emergency Preparedness, claims the country has consistently given top priority to nuclear safety.
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As of the end of October 2015, the Chinese mainland had 27 nuclear power generating units in operation, with a total installed capacity of 25.5 gigawatts (GW), while another 25 units with a total installed capacity of 27.51 GW was under construction.

China plans to raise its installed nuclear power capacity to 58 GW with an additional 30 GW under construction by 2020 and build itself into a strong nuclear power country by 2030.

The document, published by the State Council Information Office, boasted "a sound safety record" since China embarked on its nuclear industry in mid 1950s, saying the country's nuclear facilities and activities have "all along been in safe and stable state" and the safety level of nuclear power stations has witnessed constant improvement.

"None of the nuclear power generating units in the Chinese mainland has suffered events or accidents rated above Level 2 under the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) with the release of gaseous and liquid effluents kept far below the national regulatory limits," it said.

The paper attributed the sound record to efforts to improve nuclear safety techniques, enforce rigorous nuclear safety supervision, and strengthen nuclear emergency management in the past six decades or so.

China has adopted "the most advanced technology and most stringent standards" to ensure safe and efficient development of nuclear power, which is an important component of China's nuclear energy sector, it said.

"Nuclear accidents know no national boundaries, and everything related to nuclear emergency management is too important to be taken lightly," the paper said.

Drawing on the lessons learned from the Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accidents, China has progressed in a full range of nuclear emergency-related activities, such as the enactment of laws and standards, the establishment of institutional and regulatory regimes, the building-up of basic capabilities, and international cooperation and exchanges.

The country's nuclear emergency rescue network is "of a proper scale, well-coordinated and of a rational layout", the report said, adding that there is also a plan to establish a new top-level national nuclear emergency rescue team of about 300 members to respond to serious nuclear accidents and international rescue operations.

China will also speed up drafting the nuclear safety law and atomic energy law, according to the report.

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