China could restart nuclear power programme

Energy-hungry China could restart its nuclear projects, suspended after Japan's Fukushima disaster in March last year, while new safety standards have been adopted in active plants, the government said.

After the Fukushima accident triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami, Beijing announced a review of safety standards and emergency procedures for Chinese nuclear power plants.

The inspection involved 41 reactors either active or in construction as well as three already approved but which had been delayed after Fukushima.

On Thursday, China's cabinet approved a document on the 2020 nuclear safety strategy, a statement on the government's website said.

"The Chinese plants in activity and in construction respond fundamentally to the last nuclear safety demands of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," the statement said.

The document does not mention restarting the construction of new plants but could open the door for new projects being approved.

Before Fukushima, China had targetted 86 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2020 compared to just 12GW today, to drive its rapidly expanding economy. Last year Chinese media had said this objective could be reduced.

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