Nu­clear pro­cess­ing site sus­pended

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By CANG WEI in Nan­jing cang­wei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A coastal city in east­ern China on Wed­nes­day backed away from its selec­tion of a site for a Sino-French nu­clear waste pro­cess­ing plant, af­ter days of protests by res­i­dents.

Since Satur­day, thou­sands of peo­ple con­cerned about safety took to the streets of Lianyun­gang, Jiangsu prov­ince, to protest the pro­posed 100 bil­lion yuan ($15 bil­lion) plant.

The lo­cal gov­ern­ment said on its web­site on Wed­nes­day that the city would “sus­pend the site selec­tion and pre­lim­i­nary work on the nu­clear re­cy­cling project”. No other de­tails were given.

French nu­clear fuel group Areva and China Na­tional Nu­clear Corp signed a deal for the project in 2012 for pro­cess­ing spent fuel pro­duced by nu­clear power plants.

Con­struc­tion is sched­uled to start in 2020, with com­ple­tion by 2030. But the lo­ca­tion has yet to be de­cided.

A me­dia re­port on July 26 said that a deputy di­rec­tor of the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy, and In­dus­try for Na­tional De­fense, ac­com­pa­nied by CNNC ex­ec­u­tives, were in­spect­ing Lianyun­gang as a pos­si­ble lo­ca­tion for the plant. The re­port drew huge pub­lic at­ten­tion and lo­cal peo­ple protested.

“The fi­nal site will be de­cided by the cen­tral gov­ern­ment af­ter be­ing sci­en­tif­i­cally re­searched, re­leased to the pub­lic and sup­ported by the lo­cal gov­ern­ment,” Xue Weim­ing, gen­eral man­ager of the CNNC’s Nu­clear Fuel Re­pro­cess­ing Co, was quoted as say­ing by Sci­ence Daily on Wed­nes­day.

He added that ra­di­a­tion risks in the nu­clear re­pro­cess­ing pro­gram are low and the in­flu­ence on the en­vi­ron­ment and nearby res­i­dents can be con­trolled.

How­ever, Chen Yong, a teacher at the city’s Huai­hai In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, said it’s the trans­porta­tion process, not the nu­clear re­pro­cess­ing tech­nol­ogy, that he is wor­ried about.

“No­body can give as­sur­ances that the spent nu­clear waste is 100 per­cent safe dur­ing trans­porta­tion, as peo­ple are needed to lift it, un­load it and drive it dur­ing the process,” Zhang said.

“Peo­ple have a right to worry about their safety and de­mand that the dan­ger­ous ma­te­rial is not in their back­yard,” he said. “The gov­ern­ment should com­mu­ni­cate with the pub­lic pa­tiently and earn their trust on the pro­gram.”

The city gov­ern­ment promised ear­lier this week that it would re­lease ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion about the plant to the pub­lic in a timely man­ner. It also said that any­one who fab­ri­cates in­for­ma­tion or spreads ru­mors will be pun­ished.

Lianyun­gang, about 500 kilo­me­ters north of Shang­hai, is a port city with a pop­u­la­tion of 4.5 mil­lion.

Tian­wan Nu­clear Power Sta­tion, with two Rus­sian-de­signed re­ac­tors, is lo­cated there. Two more units are be­ing built.

The Chi­nese main­land now has 34 nu­clear power plants in op­er­a­tion, 20 un­der con­struc­tion and more planned, ac­cord­ing to the World Nu­clear As­so­ci­a­tion.

Founded in 2011, Nu­clear Fuel Re­pro­cess­ing Co is re­spon­si­ble for pre­lim­i­nary work in the China-France nu­clear re­cy­cling pro­gram that is sup­ported by both coun­tries. Since 2015, it has re­searched about 10 sites in coastal prov­inces, in­clud­ing Shan­dong, Fu­jian and Zhe­jiang.

Peo­ple have a right to worry about their safety and de­mand that the dan­ger­ous ma­te­rial is not in their back­yard.” Chen Yong, teacher at Huai­hai In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy

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