Task force to han­dle nu­clear emer­gen­cies

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHAO LEI

China is to form a na­tional nu­clear emer­gency re­sponse task force to han­dle any se­ri­ous ac­ci­dents and to take part in over­seas op­er­a­tions.

Xu Dazhe, head of the China Atomic En­ergy Au­thor­ity, said the task force will com­prise 320 pro­fes­sion­als and will work with the ex­ist­ing 25 nu­clear emer­gency teams to con­duct search and res­cue op­er­a­tions af­ter a nu­clear ac­ci­dent.

The 25 teams have more than 1,300 per­son­nel.

Xu said China has eight tech­ni­cal sup­port cen­ters and three train­ing bases in­volved in nu­clear emer­gency re­sponse ef­forts. In ad­di­tion to in­creas­ing staffing lev­els, the coun­try is draft­ing laws on nu­clear en­ergy and nu­clear se­cu­rity.

Xu made the re­marks at a news con­fer­ence in Bei­jing on Wed­nes­day to mark the re­lease of a white pa­per ti­tled China’s Nu­clear Emer­gency Pre­pared­ness — the first of its kind in the coun­try. The news con­fer­ence was hosted by the State Coun­cil In­for­ma­tion Of­fice.

China, which be­gan build­ing its first nu­clear power sta­tion in 1985, has 30 re­ac­tors in op­er­a­tion with an in­stalled ca­pac­ity of 28.3 gi­gawatts.

Twenty-four more are un­der con­struc­tion, ac­cord­ing to the China Atomic En­ergy Au­thor­ity.

At present, nu­clear power con­trib­utes about 2 per­cent of China’s elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion, ac­cord­ing to the China Elec­tric­ity Coun­cil. Xu said that last year eight re­ac­tors be­came op­er­a­tional and work started on six new ones.

The govern­ment is con­sid­er­ing build­ing off­shore nu­clear power plants, but only un­der com­pletely safe con­di­tions, Xu said, adding that a “care­ful and sci­en­tific” fea­si­bil­ity re­view will be car­ried out be­fore a de­ci­sion is made.

Since China es­tab­lished its nu­clear in­dus­try in the 1950s, the govern­ment has at­tached great im­por­tance to nu­clear safety and emer­gency re­sponse.

In 1991, the State Coun­cil set up a na­tional com­mit­tee to han­dle any nu­clear emer­gen­cies. In 1997, the govern­ment is­sued a na­tional nu­clear emer­gency plan and has since re­vised it sev­eral times. The lat­est ver­sion was re­leased in June 2013.

Na­tional nu­clear emer­gency re­sponse drills were or­ga­nized in 2009 and 2015 and a third will be staged soon, Xu said.

Liu Sen­lin, vice-pres­i­dent of the China In­sti­tute of Atomic En­ergy, said the na­tion has at least 300 nu­clear and ra­dioac­tive mon­i­tor­ing ve­hi­cles and also boasts a full-scale emer­gency de­tec­tion sys­tem.

“Ev­ery pro­vin­cial-level re­gion now has its own de­tec­tion ve­hi­cles. In ad­di­tion, at least four aerial mon­i­tor­ing sys­tems are be­ing used by sev­eral min­istries,” he said.

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