Greenpeace Welcomes China’s Decision to Suspend Approval for Nuclear Power Plants

Press release - 2011-03-17
After an executive meeting yesterday on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor crisis following Japan’s 9.0-magnitute earthquake and massive tsunami, China’s State Council has announced that it will readjust and amend China’s mid- and long-term development plan for nuclear power. Approval for all new nuclear power plants, including those in preliminary development, will be temporarily suspended until safety standards are revised and strengthened.

Greenpeace welcomes this decisive statement and cautious attitude toward nuclear power at a critical moment.

Li Yan, Greenpeace East Asia's climate and energy campaign manager, said, "We would like to express our heartfelt condolences for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami, both those who lost their lives and those who have survived but must face the continued menace of a radioactive disaster in their homeland. The radioactive leakage in Japan is a loud and clear warning that the world needs to deeply reflect on the safety of nuclear power, and reconsider and adjust their plans for nuclear development."

"Nuclear power is one of the most unwise solutions for the energy problem, due to its enormous investment costs, long construction period, and above all, serious safety concerns. China requires energy to power its development, but that energy demand must be built on a sustainable and safe foundation."

"The real answer lies in greatly developing safer and cleaner energy sources such as wind and solar, while dramatically improving energy efficiency and reforming the state grid. Not only will this help China meet the energy needs of domestic economic development, but it will also save the public and the national economy from high, unnecessary risk. We hope that when China makes adjustments to its mid- and long-term development plan for nuclear power, it will seriously consider further investments in clean, safe energy and energy efficiency. "

The State Council meeting emphasized the need to fully understand the importance and urgency of nuclear safety. "Safety is our top priority in developing nuclear power plants," and "the mid- and long-term nuclear power development plan must be adjusted and amended," the State Council said in the statement. The State Council also required the strengthening of environmental monitoring and alerts for radioactive substance, including mobile radiation tests in key areas, as well as the timely issuance of alerts.

Li Yan added, "In a time of disaster, immediate and transparent information disclosure is critical for saving lives and keeping the public calm. We hope that the Chinese government can build on this temporary suspension to listen to public opinion for future nuclear development plans."

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