China

China Conducts Nuclear Plants Safety Inspections Following Tragic Tianjin Port Explosions

By | Sep 15, 2015 09:40 AM EDT
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China Nuclear Power

A nuclear reactor and related facilities as part of the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong province.(Photo : Reuters/Bobby Yip/Files)

Chinese environmental regulators announced on Monday that they will be conducting safety inspections on the various nuclear power plants scattered across the country. The move comes after news that the massive explosion in Tianjin was caused by fire in a warehouse filled with toxic chemicals.

Xinhua reported that the Ministry of Environmental Protection will start a two-month-long inspection of the country's nuclear power plants, nuclear manufacturing plants and mines that extract uranium.

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The nuclear facilities have to show that their safety protocol and equipment are up to standards. Poor safety measures employed by the Tianjin warehouse owners was a main factor in the explosion that resulted in the loss of lives and properties in the city.

Local government units have also encouraged to conduct their own safety inspections on nuclear facilities under their jurisdiction. The lack of government supervision made it possible for the Tianjin warehouse owners to construct dangerous storage facilities near residential areas.

China is reported to have around 26 nuclear facilities that are currently operational and another 25 plants that are in various stages of completion, according to the World Nuclear Association. The country has decided to focus on nuclear power in order to reduce its dependence to coal, which is a major contributor of air pollution.

Reuters reported that Beijing is planning to have enough nuclear power plants capable of supplying the country with around 58 GW of electricity in five years time, and by 2030, China expects to triple its nuclear power supply.

So far, no Chinese nuclear power plant have been reported to have suffered any serious incidents comparable to the Fukushima accident in nearby Japan. However, the nuclear radiation nighmare was enough reason for China to suspend the construction of new nuclear facilities, until it can get its hands on safer reactors and other related equipment.

China has resumed construction of nuclear power plants but vowed that it will only use the latest nuclear equipment.

China's newest nuclear reactor that was designed by U.S. company Westinghouse is yet to be installed due to problems in the design and failure to pass rigorous safety protocols.

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