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The Chinese government has halted approvals of new nuclear-power plants pending changes to safety standards. The government also ordered integrity checks at existing plants.  The reviews are due to the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan. The Chinese National Nuclear Safety Administration is sending monitors onto the East China Sea with radiation-detection equipment. So far, nothing unusual has been discovered.

China has 13 nuclear reactors in operation, at least 25 more under construction, and a five-year plan adopted by the National People's Congress just this month contains approvals for dozens more units. According to the World Nuclear Association, more than 70 additional reactors are in the proposal stage, including for regions with known seismic activity.

Derry Bigby, Zhang Xiaoping, Norris McDonald at Daya Bay

Center President Norris McDonald, Center Vice President Derry Bigby and Center China Office Director Zhang Xiaoping toured the Daya Bay nuclear power station in China's southern city of Huizhou in Guangdong province in 2007.  They also toured China's cutting edge Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) being developed about 40 miles from Beijing.

2 Reactors Under Construction at Daya Bay (2007)

Containment dome head for new reactor in background

Center staff with Dr. Wang Hong - PBMR in distant background

Among the major suppliers to China is Toshiba Corp.'s Westinghouse Electric, which produces a reactor called the AP1000 that features a passive safety system that doesn't require the same kind of pumps that failed in Japan. China also intends to utilize reprocessing spent uranium. China cannot achieve its clean-air goals without significant investment in nuclear power. (WSJ, 3/17/2011)