Permits for nuclear plants 'to resume next summer'
The mainland could resume issuing permits for new nuclear power projects as soon as the middle of next year, the state-run China Daily reported yesterday, citing a leading researcher of the nation's nuclear industry association.
Zheng Yuhui, director of the research centre at the China Nuclear Energy Association, was quoted as saying the government would lift suspension of approval procedures in two years at most, and that an optimistic estimate for the restart would be a year from now.
He said the government's commitment to nuclear power development had not changed, but 'we need to control the pace of development and ensure the safety of projects'.
Authorities had finished inspecting all 13 nuclear reactors in operation and a review of the other 28 being built would be completed in October, Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection Li Ganjie said this month. The suspension of approvals would not end until all the reactors had passed safety inspections and a national nuclear safety plan had been worked out, Li said.
Beijing suspended approval of new projects five days after a magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami struck northeast Japan, triggering the leakage of nuclear material at the Fukushima No1 nuclear plant. It also said it would review its long-term development plan for the industry.
Shen Wenquan, a senior engineer at the State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation, believed it would take the government one to two years to finish the inspections and the draft of a safety plan, the National Business Daily reported.
He was quoted as saying the mainland would not have new nuclear power plants approved in the next one or two years, but this would not affect it achieving its goals for 2020.
Before the Fukushima crisis the China National Energy Administration expected installed capacity of 70 to 80 million kilowatts by 2020.
After one or two years of adjustment, China would build its nuclear plants according to safety standards for the third generation of reactors, Shen told the Clean Energy Expo China 2011 in Beijing last week.
The proportion of the world's new nuclear reactors being built on the mainland
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