China says its nuclear reactors passed inspections

AP News
Posted: Jun 15, 2011 12:57 AM

China's nuclear regulators have given the country's reactors a clean bill of health following inspections ordered after the disaster at Japan's tsunami-struck Fukushima Dai-ichi facility.

Inspections have been completed on all 13 of China's currently operating reactors in a process very similar to those in place in Europe and the United States, Vice Environment Minister Li Ganjie said in a statement posted on the ministry's website Wednesday.

Further safety reviews of 28 reactors now under construction should be completed by October, Li said.

Li has called for a major overhaul of China's nuclear oversight in the wake of Japan's disaster, although there have been no signs that China plans to diverge from its ambitious program to develop the industry.

China intends to have more than 100 reactors in operation by 2020, but has suspended issuing permits for new plants until a national nuclear safety plan is completed. China says the expansion is necessary to fuel an energy-hungry economy that is overwhelmingly dependent on coal.

Li's remarks came in a meeting Tuesday in Beijing with the U.S. Energy Department Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Peter Lyons. The two discussed the Japanese disaster and called for closer cooperation on nuclear safety.

"The Fukushima accident is still being handled and the data is still being sorted, but overall, the effects have been profound and have taught us a major lesson," Li was quoted as saying.