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China warned over ‘insane’ plans for nuclear power plants - 26th May 2015

Nuclear power station

China’s plans for an expansion in nuclear power plants have been called ‘insane’ because the country is not investing appropriately in safety controls. Proposals to build plants inland are particularly risky because an accident could cause contamination of rivers relied upon by hundreds of millions of people and potentially taint groundwater supplies used to water vast amounts of important farmlands.

China had halted the approval of new reactors in 2011 to review its safety standards however in March nuclear power was given the go-ahead for 2 units in an attempt to surpass Japan’s nuclear generation capacity by 2020. The government wants to expand its nuclear generation capacity in order to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

He Zuoxiu, who used to work on China’s nuclear weapon programme, has said that the roll out of new reactors was going too fast to ensure safety and progress expertise. China wants to build 58 Gigawatts of nuclear generating capacity by 2020 which He considered to be ‘insane’. He Zuoxio would like to see a stop in nuclear expansion to ensure that China can safely run its current nuclear reactors allowing for safe expansion a few years down the line. Safety checks following the Fukushima accident were considered to be good however these were under the old standards which are in desperate need for improvements. China has however rejected stronger standards due to the pressure of rapid expansion and the need to put company profits ahead of national security.

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