Protests end Sino-French pro­ject

The Myanmar Times - - International | Business -

A CHINESE city said yes­ter­day that it would halt prepa­ra­tions for a pos­si­ble Sino-French nu­clear pro­ject af­ter thou­sands of lo­cals protested against it over the weekend, the lat­est of­fi­cial con­ces­sion fol­low­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal demon­stra­tions.

Af­ter days of protests by an­gry res­i­dents, the gov­ern­ment of Lianyun­gang said on a ver­i­fied mi­croblog that it would “tem­po­rar­ily sus­pend” se­lec­tion of a lo­ca­tion for a nu­clear fuel pro­cess­ing plant.

Thou­sands of peo­ple massed out­side gov­ern­ment of­fices over the weekend, call­ing for the pro­ject to be can­celled on health grounds, and clash­ing with po­lice, lo­cals said.

French nu­clear fuel group Areva in 2012 agreed to co­op­er­ate with state-run China Na­tional Nu­clear Corp (CNNC) to build a re­pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity in China, with­out stat­ing the lo­ca­tion.

Lo­cals say that Lianyun­gang, a port city in the east­ern prov­ince of Jiangsu, is a prime can­di­date, be­cause a large new nu­clear power sta­tion is be­ing built by CNNC nearby.

Street protests against large projects have be­come a reg­u­lar oc­cur­rence in China, some­times caus­ing climb­downs from of­fi­cials.

Last year of­fi­cials in China’s In­ner Mon­go­lia re­gion vowed to shut down sev­eral chem­i­cal plants af­ter po­lice were said to have used tear gas to break up protests.

Huge protests in the north­east­ern city of Dalian in 2011 prompted au­thor­i­ties to an­nounce the clo­sure of another chem­i­cal plant, al­though it was ap­par­ently still op­er­at­ing two years later.

Main­land China has 34 nu­clear power re­ac­tors in op­er­a­tion, 20 un­der con­struc­tion, and work is about to start on more, ac­cord­ing to the World Nu­clear As­so­ci­a­tion.

Safety fears grew fol­low­ing a se­ries of melt­downs at Ja­pan’s Fukushima nu­clear power plant in March 2011 that were in­tensely cov­ered by China’s state-run me­dia. –

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