China new nuclear tech not yet completely up to standard: Official

China new nuclear tech not yet completely up to standard: Official

BEIJING - Key technology and equipment being deployed as China shifts towards advanced nuclear reactors are "still not completely up to standard", an official with the country's energy regulator said on Thursday.

Liu Baohua, the head of the nuclear office at China's National Energy Administration, told a press briefing that China also needed to improve its regulatory and legislative environment for nuclear power.

China is aiming to raise nuclear capacity to 58 gigawatts (GW) by 2020 from 19 GW now, but experts say it will struggle to meet its target amid approval delays.

Since Japan's Fukushima disaster in 2011, China's nuclear programme has slowed considerably after Beijing promised to adhere to the highest possible third-generation safety standards when approving new projects.

It has rested much of its hopes on the success of the third-generation AP1000 reactor designed by US-based Westinghouse, with the world's first due to go into operation at the end of next year in the eastern province of Zhejiang province, two years later than originally scheduled.

"The third generation reactors now under construction still have problems with the pumps and valves, and with the inflexibility of the design," said Liu.

"We are working to resolve these problems and the overall situation is still under control."

He said more work needed to be done to improve the regulatory framework for the industry, to train nuclear personnel, and to convince the public that nuclear power was clean and safe.

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