The revival of the global nuclear industry has suffered a major setback after China, the biggest builder of reactors around the world, suspended approval of new nuclear plants.
The country accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the world’s planned reactors and its nuclear ambitions have been a major driver of the global uranium market and were seen as being a key source of future demand.
Beijing’s move comes a day after Germany idled a third of the country’s nuclear capacity in response to the Japanese nuclear crisis and could reshape global energy policy.
“Until the nuclear safety plan is approved, we will suspend approvals of new plants including those in the pre-development phase,” said the State Council, the Chinese cabinet, after a meeting on Japan's nuclear situation.
The cost of electricity, natural gas, thermal coal and carbon emissions in Europe have jumped to levels not seen in two years as governments around the world rethink their nuclear policies.
依靠核能解决四分之三电力需求的法国是一个例外。法国表示，将对国内所有58座核电站进行安全审查，但该国能源部长坚称，法国走核电发展道路是正确的，这既保障了法国的能源独立，还减少了温室气体排放。另一个为核电辩护的人是土耳其总理雷杰普?塔伊普?埃尔多安(Recep Tayyip Erdogan)，他表示，土耳其将在俄罗斯的帮助下，推进建造该国首座核电站的计划。土耳其是一个地震高发国家。
One exception was France, which relies on nuclear power to generate three-quarters of its electricity, It said it would conduct a safety review of all its 58 plants but its energy minister maintained the French had been right to opt for atomic power, which secured energy independence and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Another was Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister, who said his quake-prone country would press ahead with plans to build its first nuclear power plant, with Russia;s help.
In the US, Steven Chu, energy secretary, told a congressional committee hearing that the Obama administration would press ahead with efforts to expand loan guarantees for new nuclear reactors while investigating the failure of Japan’s power plants after the earthquake.
“We must fully understand the urgency and importance of nuclear safety,” China’s State Council said. A new nuclear safety plan will be drawn up urgently and rigorous inspections carried out on all reactors that are operating or under construction, according to the cabinet statement.
China plans to build 40GW of new nuclear capacity in the next five years and has 27 reactors under construction. The country has made nuclear power one of the core elements of its future energy mix, seeing it as a solution to the country’s energy shortage and a key component of the shift away from fossil fuels.
Chinese officials have previously said that 10 nuclear projects were slated for approval in the next five years. The country has so far not changed its recent five-year plan.
据世界核协会(World Nuclear Association)介绍，中国共有160个核电项目得到提议。目前尚不清楚在计划建设的反应堆中，有多少将受到暂停审批决定的影响。
According to the World Nuclear Association, 160 nuclear projects have been proposed in China. It is still unclear how many of the reactors planned will be affected by the suspension of approvals.
中国核电计划的任何长期变动，都将给力拓(Rio Tinto)、必和必拓(BHP Billiton)以及加拿大的Cameco等全球铀矿开采企业带来重大影响。
Any long-term change in China’s nuclear programme would have major ramifications for global uranium miners like Cameco, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.
Industry specialists said the most likely reactors to be impacted by the changes were the second-generation CPR1000 models, which are about 40 per cent of the pipeline. Third-generation reactors, like the AP1000 built by Westinghouse and the EPR built by Areva, are seen as being safer and less likely to be affected. Currently about a third of the pipeline is based on AP1000 designs.
The statement from the State Council sought to reassure the public about the safety of China’s nuclear programme and said no abnormal radiation had been detected in the country.
Describing how Premier Wen Jiabao listened attentively to expert presentations on what was happening in Japan, it outlined steps that would be taken to guarantee the safety of China’s nuclear reactors, including immediately checking all operating reactors, strengthening oversight of reactors, and drawing up new safety rules.
The announcement comes amid mounting concern and panic in China, which is seeing – for the first time in recent memory – the possibility of a nuclear disaster close to home.
On Wednesday, the top search terms on China’s most popular microblog were “nuclear power plant” and “nuclear radiation”, and the forum was filled with scepticism about the country’s nuclear safety.
Pharmacies in Beijing said they were receiving an unusual number of requests for iodine, which can be taken as a precaution against radiation exposure. In the locker rooms of one Beijing gym, housewives could be heard calling their maids to instruct them to run and buy seaweed before stores sold out.
Some government officials have in the past criticised China’s nuclear build-up as being too rapid, citing strains on the supply chain.
2011-03-17 08:55 编辑：kuaileyingyu
The US Congress moved closer to punishing China for allegedly manipulating its currency, as a key committee of the House of Representatives voted to advance legislation that could